For the first half of this season, people around the league wondered if any team from the East would be able to challenge Cleveland. Chicago, Atlanta, and Miami have all looked shaky this year, but the up-and-coming Toronto Raptors have been rolling. The all-star duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan has led Toronto to a 39-18 record as of Friday, good for second in the conference.
They hosted the Cavaliers Friday night, and Lowry led them to a thrilling comback victory, winning 99-97. With a career-high 43 points total, he won the game on a stepback two over Matt Dellavedova with just over three seconds left. Lowry also added in nine assists and collected four steals.
His backcourt brother, DeMar DeRozan, finished with just six points on 1/11 shooting; Cleveland got almost no production outside out James and Love. J.R. Smith and Kyrie had 13 and ten, respectively, and Delly and Shumpert combined for just ten points.
Cleveland finished the season series with Toronto at 1-2, with both losses coming by four points or less. There’s a great chance these two meet for the Eastern Conference title, and it’s going to be a very exciting series.
Around The League
The Kings could not stop Chris Paul Friday as he hung 40 on them while dishing out 13 dimes. It was his third career 40/13 game, tying him with LeBron James for the most since 1983. He hauled in eight board to go along with the points and assists, making him the ninth player in the last thirty years to have a 40/8/13 game. CP3 was so dominant that DeMarcus Cousins tired to stop him by pegging him with the basketball.
Jahlil Okafor drops 21 in a loss against the Wizards, giving him a rookie-leading 22nd 20+ point games (K. Towns is second with 20). In that same game, John Wall had his 18th 20p/10a game of the year, placing him eight behind Russell Westbrook.
Chicago falters badly without Jimmy Butler, losing to Atlanta 103-88 and dropping down to the eighth seed. Pau Gasol had 16 points and 17 boards, but shot 6/22 from the field. For Atlanta, Jeff Teague led the way with 19 points and nine assists; Paul Millsap headed the defense and rejected five shots and grabbed 13 boards.
CHA 96 – IND 95
WSH 103 – PHI 94
ORL 95- NYK 108
CLE 97 – TOR 99
CHI 88 – ATL 103
DEN 116 – DAL 122
LAC 117 – SAC 107
MEM 112 – LAL 95