Northern Lights: Toronto’s Stars Shine To Even Series
For the fourth straight game in the Eastern Conference Finals, the home team went to sleep in their own beds with a win under their pillow.
Toronto's fans and their stars reminded the Cavs "We Are The North" in a 105-99 win to even the series at 2-2, and the Raptors iced the game with an 11-3 run. Kyle Lowry put in 35 points (14-20 FG, 4-7 3-pt), and DeMar Derozan had 32 points (14-23 FG) for the second straight game.
Lowry was criticized earlier in the series for walking off the court during the game in Cleveland, but his game spoke louder in Game Four in front of a frenzied fan base.
"We protected our home court, like we're supposed to," Lowry said after the game.
Toronto had to work for it. The Cavs trailed by as much as 18 points in the game, but they made their first 11 shots of the fourth quarter to actually take the lead at one point. LeBron James had another efficient outing (29 pts, 11-16 FG), and Kyrie Irving did his part with 26 points, but the third part of their equation was missing.
Kevin Love didn't play for the entire fourth quarter, and Cavs Head Coach Ty Lue said it had nothing to do with his health.
"Channing [Frye] gave us a great lift off the bench, and we just kind of rolled with it," Lue said after the game.
It sounds like a bad excuse for Love's terrible night shooting (4-14 FG). When you're getting paid top dollar, you shouldn't get outperformed by a 33 year old role player.
The Cavs became reliant on the three ball, even though it wasn't falling. Love wasn't the only one searching for his stroke. The team jacked up 41 shots from deep, and they only got 13 to fall. It felt like Cleveland was forcing things down the stretch, settling for ill-advised attempts with the game still in reach.
Game Three's hero, Bismack "Biz" Biyombo, followed up his 26 rebound performance with three big blocks and some pivotal offensive rebounds at the end of the game. His energy in Jonas Valanciunas' absence is fueling Toronto's momentum in the Eastern Conference Finals, which is an unexpected addition to the drama of the series.
Lowry and DeRozan don't have the individual star power of LeBron, but their 67 combined points outshone "The King" north of the border. Will they be able to take their shooting strokes with them to Cleveland? One thing is for sure, this series is guaranteed to see at least six games now. With this kind of action, basketball fans everywhere wouldn't mind seeing this thing reach Game Seven.
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