Raptors celebrate Drake Night by defeating Cavs
Kyle Lowry leads the way with 27 points
DeMar DeRozan had to think long and hard to remember the last time the Toronto Raptors had beaten LeBron James on their home court.
It was Oct. 28, 2010 — DeRozan's first NBA regular-season game.
"Damn, you just gave me a reality check how long I've been in the league," DeRozan said. "It's definitely crazy. I grew up watching him, I had a relationship with him before I was in the league, so just to go against him even to this day is definitely crazy to see how much time has changed."
Kyle Lowry poured in 27 points, four steals and six assists, while DeRozan added 20, and the Raptors finally got the better of James and his Cleveland Cavaliers in a 103-99 victory Wednesday night.
It was Toronto's solid defensive effort that had players talking in the post-game dressing room.
"Like I said before, you try to be that gnat on that summer day, when you're eating that barbecue, you know what I'm talking about?" said DeMarre Carroll, who was tasked with the tough job of guarding James for a good chunk of the night. "It's in your face and you can't get it out. That's all I was trying to be, man.
"[James] is a great player. You can't stop him, you can only slow him down and that's what I tried to do tonight."
Carroll scored 12 points, while Luis Scola had 15 points and seven rebounds. Bismack Biyombo grabbed 12 rebounds to go with 11 points — including a couple of key dunks down the stretch — for a Raptors team (10-6) missing starting centre Jonas Valanciunas (broken hand).
"We got a hell of a defender in DeMarre Carroll," DeRozan said. "That is one of the main reasons we brought him in and he did a heck of a job. You seen it last year in the playoffs and he's carrying it over and helping us."
James led the Cavaliers (11-4) with 24 points, while Kevin Love added 21, and Mo Williams and JR Smith chipped in with 15 apiece. Brampton, Ont., native Tristan Thompson had eight points to go with 11 rebounds.
The Raptors were finally back home after a western road swing that saw them go 2-3 and lose Valanciunas for approximately six weeks. They were also playing just their fifth home game of the season — second lowest in the league — and were hoping the good vibes of home court would lift them past James and his Cavs.
Toronto took an 82-80 lead into the fourth quarter of the see-saw affair, in front of capacity crowd of 20,140 that turned out for the third annual Drake Night. The Toronto rapper — and Raptors' global ambassador — sat courtside with his mom, and the Raptors wore their alternate black and gold Drake jerseys.
Toronto dominated down the stretch, and when Lowry scored on a fastbreak layup and drew a foul from Thompson, the three-point play gave the Raptors a 94-85 lead with 3:38 to play.
Patrick Patterson drained a three, then Biyombo brought the crowd to its feet with back-to-back dunks, the second putting the Raptors up by 10. Smith drained back-to-back threes but the game was already out of reach.
The Raptors shot 51 per cent on the night to the Cavs' 44, and outscored their visitors 52-28 in the paint.
"I didn't play well," James said afterward. "They were the better team tonight and they got the win."