Kyle Lowry out-dueled LeBron James as the Toronto Raptors crept closer to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Toronto now trails Cleveland by two games, but the Raptors hold the head-to-head tiebreaker, winning the season series 2-1.
Lowry's Career Game
Kyle Lowry had a career-high 43 points on 15-for-20 shooting, including making 13-of-15 attempts inside the 3-point arc. He's the third player this season to score at least 40 points on 75 percent shooting, joining Blake Griffin (Nov. 25 vs Jazz) and Stephen Curry (Dec. 2 vs Hornets).
His 43 points were the most by a player against the Cavaliers since LeBron James scored 43 with the Heat in 2014.
It's the second time in Lowry's career he's scored at least 40 points, both with the Raptors. He joins Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and DeMar DeRozan as the only players in Raptors history with multiple 40-point games.
He was especially strong in the 4th quarter, scoring 16 of the Raptors' 31 points, including the Raptors final seven points of the game. He keyed the Raptors' comeback from 14 points down in the 2nd half. Toronto only led the game for a total of two minutes.
Lowry did not receive much help from the rest of the Raptors starters. He out-scored the other four starters 43 to 19, as James Johnson, Luis Scola, Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan combined to shoot 6-for-24 (including 2-for-19 from Johnson, Scola and DeRozan).
James Comes Up Short
LeBron James scored 25 points with eight rebounds and seven assists, but he missed a possible game-winning three-point field goal as time expired in the loss.
James is now 1-for-5 on possible game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final five seconds of regulation or overtime this season, and 5-for-47 in the last ten seasons. Among players with at least 25 attempts, his 10.6 field goal percentage in such situations is the second worst in the NBA over the last ten seasons, ahead of only Jamal Crawford.
It's the 16th time in his career that James missed a potential go-ahead three-point field goal in the final five seconds, most in the NBA in that span.
Odds and Ends
The Raptors have now won 10 straight home games, the longest single season streak in franchise history. They have now won 18 of their last 21 home games, the best 21-game home stretch in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
This was the first NBA game in which neither team blocked a shot since March 21, 2008 when both the Lakers and SuperSonics failed to record a blocked shot.