CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jeff McInnis is nursing two new injuries: a
sprained left ankle and some severely damaged NBA playoff hopes.
Jalen Rose made a 3-pointer in the final second, and the Toronto
Raptors ended a seven-game losing streak -- and perhaps Cleveland's
postseason chances -- with an 87-86 victory over the Cavaliers on
"We worked so hard," said McInnis, who returned to the lineup
after missing six straight games with a bruised right shoulder.
"Jalen got an open look, and it just hurts, because we worked so
hard the whole game."
Meanwhile, the Cavs' loss was good news for the Miami Heat, who are now headed to the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Toronto's win ensures that Miami
cannot fall any lower than eighth in the final Eastern Conference
standings. The top eight teams in each conference reach the
Miami started the season with seven straight losses, and were
ten games under the .500 mark following a mid-January loss to
Boston. But since then, the Heat have ranked among the Eastern
Conference's hottest teams, going 22-and-13 in their last 35 games.
The Heat have five regular season games remaining, beginning
with a home meeting against Boston on Wednesday, and still has a chance
of finishing as high as the fourth in the conference.
The Raptors still have hope for a playoff spot too after Rose's 3-pointer with six-tenths of a second left capped a
gorgeous final possession.
A loss would have eliminated the Raptors from the playoffs.
"They stepped it up," Toronto coach Kevin O'Neill said. "This
was a good win."
The Cavs' fifth straight loss dropped them three games behind
idle Boston for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto is four back of the Celtics.
Vince Carter scored 32 points, Rose added 15 and Donyell
Marshall had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto. The Raptors,
who scored just eight points in the third quarter, finished with a
season-high 12 blocks.
McInnis sparked the Cavaliers, who had gone 1-9 since the point
guard bruised his shoulder in a March 16 win over Chicago. The
Cavaliers, back to looking like a playoff-caliber team, led 86-84
after James made two free throws with 11.6 seconds left.
Toronto called timeout and Cleveland figured the ball would go
to Carter, which it did. The Raptors' All-Star guard was then able
to drive the lane, forcing the Cavs' defense to collapse on him.
Carter then kicked the ball outside and the Raptors alertly
reversed it around the key to a wide-open Rose, who gathered
himself and buried his 3-pointer.
"Everybody wants to take the shot that wins an NBA game," Rose
said. "Everybody counts down five, four, three, two, one -- whether
you're playing your big brother or the guy down the street.
"Everybody wants to be in that position. Tonight I was, and I
hit the shot."
Ira Newble's inbounds pass intended for James just before the
horn was tipped away as Cavs lost a game they desperately needed to
The Cavaliers could take a lesson from the way the Raptors set
up Rose's game-winner.
"They just kept swinging it around," James said. "They showed
a lot of patience. That was great."
McInnis' return appeared it would end with a win when the Cavs
opened a 80-74 lead with 5:01 left. However, he rolled his left
ankle when he landed on Rose's foot and had to be helped to the
locker room with 3:58 left.
He returned with his ankle heavily taped and waited patiently
near the scorer's table for a stoppage before finally re-entering
with 43.6 seconds to go. But by then the Raptors had clawed back in
it behind Rose and Carter.
McInnis said he'll try to play on Wednesday in Memphis.
"I'm only maybe 85 percent, but I want to help this team,"
McInnis said. "I feel bad, but that's the way the game goes."
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavs,
who have five games left.
Toronto was awful in the third period, shooting 3-for-22 from
the field and committing six turnovers to help the Cavaliers
overcome a 53-44 halftime deficit.
McInnis, who had eight points and two assists in the quarter,
hit a 15-foot jumper with two seconds to go as the Cavs went into
the fourth leading 63-61.
Cleveland seemed content to watch Carter in the first quarter,
and he torched the Cavs for 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
Toronto last scored eight points in a third quarter on
April 10, 2002, at Indiana. ... Marshall strutted into Gund Arena
wearing a Connecticut "National Champions" cap after attending
UConn's title game win over Georgia Tech in San Antonio. Marshall
chartered a plane along with teammates Chris Bosh and Dion Glover --
both former Yellow Jackets. Marshall ran on the floor afterward to
celebrate the Huskies' second NCAA title. "I didn't get to go to
the first one in '99," said Marshall, the first high school
All-American to go to UConn. "It's nice to know it was something I
helped get going." ... To make room for McInnis, the Cavs released
G Mateen Cleaves two days before his 10-day contract was up.
Rachel Nichols and The Jump crew break down the social media antics of this musical love triangle. Is it a conspiracy to influence the series or a mere coincidence?
The SportsNation crew react to Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue's decision not to play forward Kevin Love in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against the Raptors, and if the team should be worried about him.
After a nightmarish first two games, Kyle Lowry has led the Raptors resurgence in the Eastern Conference Finals.