LeBron stops the rot as Cavs hold off Raptors

 06 Dec 2016 - 8:42

LeBron stops the rot as Cavs hold off Raptors
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives to the basket past Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll (5) in the first half at Air Canada Centre. Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

AFP

Los Angeles: LeBron James scored 34 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped their three-game losing streak with a battling 116-112 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

James led the scoring for the Cavs, who also saw Kevin Love pour on 28 points with 14 rebounds as the Raptors' six-game winning streak came to an end.

The Cavs had looked to be easing to victory after opening up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.

But a determined Raptors fightback, which saw them move to within four with two seconds left, ensured the game went down to the wire after Kyle Lowry's three free throws.

It was a third victory for the Cavaliers over the Raptors this season, a series in which three close-fought games have been settled by a total of 11 points.

James later paid tribute to the Cavs' dogged pursuit of victory against a Raptors side who took his team to six games in last season's Eastern Conference finals.

"It's always a tough place to play," James said. "Their fans are incredible and their team is very good and well-coached. It's absolutely tough to get a win in here; and, for us to be able to do that twice already, it's big for our team."

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue expressed satisfaction at his team's refusal to buckle during their fourth quarter wobble.

"Things got tough down the stretch," Lue said. "And we just continued to keep playing. Stuck with the game plan. They made some tough shots, some lucky shots at times, but we just stayed with the game plan. We stayed the course. I loved our fight tonight," he said.

Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and Channing Frye contributed 10 off the bench for Cleveland.

DeMar DeRozan topped Toronto's scorers with 31 points while Lowry finished with 24 points and nine assists.

"We have to play a perfect game to play a team like that," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "Whether it's a mental breakdown or whatever, not executing, not closing out properly... All those little things matter in the flow of the game."

The win saw the Cavaliers improve to 14-5 in the overall Eastern Conference race, ahead of Toronto (14-7) and Boston (12-9).