Cavaliers 84, Raptors 80
Standing at the free throw line with a chance to clinch a rare Cleveland win, Lester Hudson couldn't help thinking about his soon-to-expire 10-day contract. It wasn't a distraction, but a motivation.
''The 10 day is almost up so I said to myself, `If you want to stay, you've got to make these,''' Hudson said. ''`Do not worry about the crowd. If you want to stay, you make these.' I made them, so hopefully I can stay.''
''I'm very, very proud of my team and the way they played,'' Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. ''To come back and win that game showed a lot, as far as I'm concerned.''
Samardo Samuels scored 10 points as Cleveland outscored the Raptors 33-17 in the fourth to avoid a sixth loss in seven meetings with Toronto. The Raptors shot 5 for 19 in the fourth.
Hudson, whose 10-day contract is due to expire Sunday, made a strong case for another, adding a career-high seven assists, three steals and making 11 of 13 at the line.
''It was a great opportunity for me tonight and I played great,'' he said.
Scott wasn't around to see his team's first win since March 19 at New Jersey after he was ejected with 53 seconds left in the first half following a brief but fiery argument with referee Kane Fitzgerald. It was the first ejection of the season for Scott, who was replaced by assistant Paul Pressey.
''I thought both techs were extremely quick,'' Scott said. ''I didn't complain outrageously, I just said `If you're going to call those calls down there, you've got to call them down here' and I got a tech for that and I thought that was just ridiculous.''
Samuels said Scott's ejection fired up the Cavaliers.
''Coach was going to bat for us,'' Samuels said. ''The ref wasn't giving any calls. We just had to have his back that much more, go out there and just fight, practice what he preaches.''
Manny Harris started for Cleveland in place of Anthony Parker, who scored a season-high 27 points but bruised his sternum in Wednesday's loss at Milwaukee. Parker is also expected to miss Sunday's game at New Jersey.
Harris, along with fellow guard Donald Sloan and Raptors teammates Alan Anderson and Ben Uzoh, was one of four starters from both squads who began the year in the NBA Development League. In all, Cleveland and Toronto featured seven players who have spent time in the D-League this season, including Hudson, who also played in China.
A free throw by newly signed D-Leaguer Justin Dentmon put the Raptors up 64-51 early in the fourth before Cleveland roared back behind eight straight points by Jamison, including a pair of 3-pointers, pulling the Cavaliers within 65-59 with 9:10 left.
''He got hot and we just feed the hot hand,'' Samuels said. ''He did a great job bringing us back.''
Uzoh ended the run with a layup but, after a layup by Samuels, Jamison hit a jumper and then another 3, tying it at 66 with 6:56 remaining.
''We missed the coverage on Jamison like 10 times in a row and that was the game right there,'' Bargnani said.
DeRozan restored Toronto's lead with a hook shot, but the Raptors didn't score again for nearly 4 1/2 minutes. Cleveland, meanwhile, reeled off an 8-0 run behind four points from Samuels and a layup from Jamison, taking a 74-68 lead with 3:03 to go.
''We just couldn't find the basket and couldn't make a free throw,'' Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.
Cleveland increased its lead to 78-71 and held on for the win as Hudson made two key free throws with four seconds left.
''Each day with Lester he seems to get a little more comfortable in his role with this team,'' Scott said. ''Tonight was one of those nights where we obviously really needed him with Anthony Parker out and I thought he stepped up big time.''
Bargnani connected on his first six shots of the game and scored 13 points in the first as the Raptors rallied from an early 10-2 deficit to lead 22-20.
Bargnani scored just one point in the second, but five each from DeRozan and Linas Kleiza helped the Raptors take a 42-39 lead at the half.
DeRozan scored 11 in the third as Cleveland's shooting went cold, with the Cavaliers making just three of 19 field-goal attempts as the Raptors pulled away to take a 63-51 lead into the fourth.
''I thought we were close to a record or something,'' Jamison said. ''We couldn't get the ball in the ocean.''
NOTES: Cleveland G Kyrie Irving is expected to miss seven to 10 days after re-injuring his sprained right shoulder in Tuesday's loss to San Antonio. ... Bargnani shot 2 for 12 after the first quarter. ... Toronto was without G Jose Calderon, sidelined by an eye injury after he was elbowed by Elton Brand in Wednesday's win at Philadelphia. Calderon could return Sunday when the Raptors visit Oklahoma City. ... Raptors F James Johnson (disciplinary reasons) missed his second straight game. Casey said Johnson will play Sunday. ... Toronto F Gary Forbes missed his third straight game with a sore left knee. ... The Raptors signed G Justin Dentmon to a 10-day contract and gave new 10-day contracts to Anderson and Uzoh. ... Former Raptor Sonny Weems attended the game.