James scores 28 as Cavaliers edge Raptors 121-117 for 9th win
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James had 28 points and 14 assists, Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Toronto Raptors 121-117 on Tuesday night to match the best start in franchise history after 10 games.
It was another tense matchup between the teams who met in last season's Eastern Conference finals and could get there again.
Channing Frye's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 59 seconds left put the Cavs up by one. Cleveland then buckled down on defense, holding the Raptors scoreless until letting Kyle Lowry make a layup with 2.8 seconds left.
Kevin Love added 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavs, who are 9-1 for the first time since 1976-77.
Lowry scored 28 and DeMar DeRozan added 26 for the Raptors, who complained about fouls called against Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas in the final two minutes and a possible goaltending violation against the Cavs that wasn't called in the closing seconds. Toronto came in 5-0 in games where Lowry and DeRozan combined for more than 50 points.
The Cavs made 13 3-pointers and have dropped at least 10 in all 10 games, extending their league record to start a season.
After DeRozan's free throw put Toronto ahead 115-114, Frye knocked down his 3, and following a timeout, DeRozan missed a jumper. The Cavs called time with 41.3 seconds left and then ran a designed play for James, who got free for a layup to make it 119-115.
James extended the lead to five with a free throw and the Raptors missed several easy shots before Lowry's layup got them within 120-117. Cleveland's Iman Shumpert closed the scoring with a free throw with 1.8 left.
The Raptors played without starting forward DeMarre Carroll, who was given the night off to rest his surgically repaired knee.
Cavs guard J.R. Smith missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle, leaving Cleveland without one of its top outside threats and top defenders.
DeRozan, the league's leading scorer, took advantage of Smith's absence and nearly posted another 30-point game before coming up short of matching Wilt Chamberlain (1962-63) as the only players to score at least 30 in nine of their first 10 games.
Down nine in the second quarter, the Raptors got back in it from long range as Terrence Ross, Norman Powell and Lowry drained 3s in a span of 39 seconds.
Raptors: Toronto has been closely monitoring Carroll's minutes as he continues to recover from right knee surgery. He also sat out Saturday's game against New York. … With so many shooters, and James' passing ability, the Cavs can stress defenses to the max. “They have that extra point guard on the floor in LeBron,” said Toronto coach Dwane Casey. “He finds people the normal human being doesn't see. It's a challenge, but it's nothing we haven't seen before.”
Cavaliers: Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson sat next to Cleveland's bench. … Coach Tyronn Lue is hopeful Smith can return for Wednesday's game at Indiana. Smith needs three 3-pointers to pass Dirk Nowitzki for 15th place on the career list. … G/F Mike Dunleavy is off to a rough start in his first season with Cleveland. Acquired from Chicago over the summer, Dunleavy is shooting just 29 percent (8 of28). “We're not worried about Mike,” Lue said. “He's going to find his way.”
Raptors: Host Golden State on Wednesday, completing a back-to-back against both teams from last season's NBA Finals.
Cavaliers: Play at Indiana on Wednesday.