The Cavs are still not yet at full strength with George Hill and Tyronn Lue out. But on Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena, they took down the No. 1 seed Raptors 112-106 and looked impressive doing it.
The Cavs found themselves in a hole early, falling behind 7-0 at the 10:22 mark of the first quarter. But over the rest of the quarter, Cleveland outscored Toronto 28-17 and took a four-point lead into the second quarter. Calderon and LeBron James combined for 21 of thee Cavs’ 28 first quarter points. By halftime, the Cavs led 60-52 behind nine made three-pointers, four of which came from Kevin Love with another two courtesy of Calderon.
Cleveland pushed its lead to as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but led by just eight heading into the fourth quarter. Toronto cut the lead down to five at two different points in quarter, but Cleveland pushed its lead back up to eight when James checked back in with 7:52 to play. He then finished off Toronto himself, scoring on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan on back-to-back possessions for a 5-0 Cavs run and a 14-point Cavs lead.
When both teams cleared out their benches, Toronto cut the lead back down to four with 11.1 seconds to go, forcing Larry Drew to take a timeout. James returned with Love, Calderon J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver as a result, with Love making two fouls to put the Cavs back up point six points. More fouling and free throws ensued, but it only delayed Cleveland’s win.
James finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Calderon added 19 points, while Love added 18 points and 15 rebounds. All five Cavaliers starters finished in double figures. DeRozan led the Raptors with 19 points.
With the win, and with the 76ers beating the Nets on Tuesday, Cleveland remains half a game ahead of Philadelphia for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs and 76ers play Friday in Philadelphia.
Up next: The Cavs host the Wizards, a possible first-round opponent, on Thursday. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.