TORONTO — Darius Garland scored 21 points, including the game-clinching free throws with 4.8 seconds to play, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Toronto 102-101 on Friday to end the Raptors’ win streak at five games.
OG Anunoby had 23 points to top Toronto (6-4), while Fred VanVleet finished with 18 points, Gary Trent Jr., had 17, and Scottie Barnes, back after missing two games with a sprained right thumb, finished with 14. Dalano Banton chipped in with 11.
Back at Scotiabank Arena after a perfect 3-0 road trip, and riding their longest win streak in nearly two seasons, the Raptors didn’t trail until the game’s final 4.8 seconds.
Toronto assembled a 12-point lead in the first half, stretching it to 15 in the third quarter, and led 80-74 to start the fourth.
Cleveland (6-4) rallied though down the stretch, and Jarrett Allen’s three-pointer with 4:42 to play tied the game 94-94.
Anunoby knocked down a three with 1:43 to play for five points of breathing room, but Allen scored back-to-back baskets to slice the difference to just a point with 42 seconds left.
Anunoby was whistled for tripping Garland with 4.8 to go. Garland’s pair of free throws clinched the victory for Cleveland.
The Raptors were excellent on the defensive end in the loss, forcing 20 Cleveland turnovers for 23 points.
Despite the loss, the Raptors’ performance this early in a rebuilding season had defied plenty of expectations, and they still aren’t at full strength.
All-star forward Pascal Siakam, who’s been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, is expected to make his season debut next week.
The Raptors won their first four games on the road for the first time in franchise history, and their win streak was the longest since a stretch of seven straight — the final four before COVID-19 paused play, and then the first three games in the Florida bubble.
Kevin Pangos, a Canadian feel-good story of the season, made his first NBA trip to Toronto but didn’t play.
The 28-year-old guard from Holland Landing, Ont., finally secured an NBA job after six years playing in Europe when the Cavs signed him in the off-season.
“Being able to come home and play is a big deal. Being able to come home and play in the NBA is an even bigger deal. So I can imagine there is some emotion tied up in it,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said before the game.
“He’s been all over the place playing professional basketball, he stays pretty even-keeled … but I think a homecoming for any of us, when you make it to this level, has great emotions tied to it.”
Anunoby was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first quarter, including back-to-back running dunks that were part of a 7-0 run. The Raptors led 29-28 to start the second.
Barnes led the way with eight points in the second quarter and Malachi Flynn’s three-pointer had Toronto up late in the half. The Raptors led 57-48 at halftime.
The Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2021.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press