Cavaliers hold off the playoff-hungry Raptors

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Cavaliers hold off the playoff-hungry Raptors

Dion Waiters scored 24 points and Luol Deng added 19 as the Cleveland Cavaliers prevented Toronto from getting closer to a playoff spot with a 102-100 win over the Raptors on Tuesday night.

The Cavs blew a 21-point lead, but made just enough plays down the stretch to snap a five-game losing streak at home.

They did it without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed his fifth straight game with a strained biceps tendon.

Kyle Lowry scored 22 for the Raptors, who had a chance to tie it in the final seconds but guard Greivis Vasquez lost his footing and committed a turnover with 1.9 seconds left.

Toronto led 95-94 with 6:45 remaining, but went just 1 of 9 from the floor and scored five points the rest of the way.

Tristan Thompson added 15 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland.

The Raptors are closing in on their first postseason appearance since 2008, but the Atlantic Division leaders hardly looked ready.

They fought back from a big deficit, but fell apart with the game on the line.

Toronto missed three free throws in the final 4:26, but still had a chance to force overtime or steal their 40th win after forcing a Cleveland turnover on an errant inbounds pass with 7.8 seconds to go.

But Vasquez, who finished with 16 points, drove the left side and slipped about 10 feet from the basket. As he fell, Vasquez flung the ball in desperation and it was intercepted on the right side by Deng. Vasquez remained on the floor for a few seconds grabbing his ankle before he limped off the court.

It was a blown chance for the Raptors, who came with a slight lead over Chicago for the third playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Vasquez’s 3-pointer from the right wing with 6:45 left helped the Raptors, who were down 74-53 in the third, take a 95-94 lead - their first since the opening three minutes.

Toronto made three 3-pointers - the Raptors had eight 3s in the first half - in a span of 1:27 to climb within 49-40, but Cleveland regrouped and led 59-45 at halftime.

AP


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