Cavs 113-87 win ends Raptors' historic and thrilling post-season run | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Cavs 113-87 win ends Raptors' historic and thrilling post-season run

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on with teammate DeMar DeRozan (10) while playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers during econd half Eastern Conference final NBA playoff basketball action in Toronto on Friday, May 27, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
May 27, 2016 - 10:51 PM

TORONTO - It was a roller-coaster 20-game run that came a remarkable two games shy of the NBA finals.

And as the final couple of minutes ticked down on the Toronto Raptors' historic post-season in a game that was already out of reach, the adoring fans in the Air Canada Centre stood on their feet and chanted: "Let's go Raptors!"

Kyle Lowry scored 35 points, but his all-star performance wasn't enough to lift the Raptors over Cleveland in a 113-87 Game 6 loss that left the point guard wanting more.

"Of course you're going to look back at some point, but right now I'm disappointed, simple as that. I'm disappointed," said Lowry, who fought back tears when he checked out of the game with 2:38 to play.

The longest post-season run the Raptors had ever travelled was also the most gruelling playoff schedule that the NBA could dole out, as the Raptors played every second day for the final 15 games.

"It's hard work, man," said DeMar DeRozan, who had 20 points on the night. "You sacrifice so much for moments like this, and when they get taken away from you, it's hurtful. You work so hard to climb your way up to get knocked back down, and to understand you've got to start over again.

"But that's a challenge we all accept, and we're looking forward to it, but as of right now, it sucks."

The Raptors' 20 games was more than any other team, and coming into Friday, they had logged 927 playoffs minutes compared to 624 by Cleveland. They'd survived elimination twice, beating both Indiana and Miami in seven games.

They also picked up a couple of key injuries along the way, including DeRozan's sprained thumb that required wrapping with a shoelace during timeouts to reduce swelling, and an ankle injury that sidelined Jonas Valanciunas for eight games. Valanciunas had nine rebounds Friday.

"I'm so proud of our guys," said coach Dwane Casey. "To go through what they've been through, two Game 7 series and a Game 6 series, and a day off in between, they fought through it. No excuses, but I think mental fatigue set in a little bit.

"But we put ourselves in the position of two hard-fought seven-game series, which I know we learned from."

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combined for 86 points to propel Cleveland into the NBA finals, in what will be a sixth consecutive appearance for James.

Two nights after an embarrassing 38-point rout in Cleveland that put underrated Toronto on the ropes, the Raptors battled hard, but couldn't make shots against a Cavs team that seemingly couldn't miss.

A 14-point deficit had grown to 21 points late in the third quarter, before Lowry scored the Raptors' last 15 points of the quarter to inject some hope into the crowd and send the Raptors into the fourth trailing 86-74.

The Raptors were within 13 points on a Lowry three with 8:21 to play, but barely two minutes later, Irving hit a dagger three that had the Cavaliers up by 21, and finally sucked any last hope the Raptors and their fans had of forcing a Game 7.

Lowry's exit was greeted with a rousing ovation from the fans, and a huge hug from Casey.

The love affair between Toronto fans and the Raptors left even James in awe.

"It's an unbelievable atmosphere," said James, who had 33 points on the night. "These fans, they mean a lot to their team, and I think this team gave everything they could throughout this whole season. To go to a place they've never been before, to get to the Eastern Conference finals. . . (the fans) just showed their appreciation."

James spoke with DeRozan and Lowry on their way off the court. He wouldn't share what he said except to say what the two all-stars have done this season "is nothing short of amazing."

"And these fans here, I know they know what they have."

Eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the previous two years, the question all season was whether they could win a series.

They did one better, knocking off both Indiana and Miami to become one of the last four NBA teams standing — earning their first conference finals appearance in the team's 21-year history.

The record post-season run comes after a franchise record 56-win regular season that saw the Raptors clinch the No. 2 seed in the East.

Their playoff run came against a Cavs team that had swept Detroit and then Atlanta with solid three-point shooting. It was more of the same Friday, as the Cavs shot 54 per cent on the night, and hit 17-of-31 three-point shots. The Raptors hit just eight of their 25 shots from long distance.

"They did what we want to do, and they've been to where we want to get to," Lowry said. "They played unbelievable so far these playoffs, give them all the credit, they beat us fair and square. They have a chance to win an NBA championship, that's where we want to be."

The raucous ACC crowd painted the maple leaf in red and white T-shirts, and included actor Jamie Foxx, Drake, Montreal Canadiens star P.K. Subban, and Blue Jays' outfielder Jose Bautista, who was serving a one-game suspension.

Thousands more fans gathered outside to watch the game on the giant screen in a crowd that bulged well beyond the borders of Jurassic Park.

The Cavs raced out to an 11-point first-quarter lead, but the Raptors ended the quarter on a 9-4 run, and trailed 31-25 heading into the second.

Toronto pulled to within six points midway through the second, but they shot just 5-for-20 in the frame and when an Irving steal resulted in a Love three with three seconds on the clock, it sent the Raptors into halftime trailing 55-41.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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