As they tried to guard against Kyrie Irving tying the game, the Raptors forgot all about the possibility he could win it.
With one of their most passive defensive efforts of the game when toughness was called for, the Raptors let Irving bury a three-pointer with less than a second left in the game as they lost a heartbreaking 99-98 decision to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Air Canada Centre.
Clinging to a two-point lead after a Jose Calderon laup with 13 seconds left, the Raptors knew that Irving would be the trigger man on the biggest possession of the game.
But as they worried about the all-star guard getting into the paint by playing off him on the perimeter, Irving dribbled out almost the entire clock and calmly drained a 28-foot three-pointer as Alan Anderson stood about six feet off him and watched.
"I don't know how far out he was. I didn't measure it, but he's four, five feet out behind the three-point line," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
"We wanted to push him. We wanted, if they were going to make a shot, to make a two. Get him off the three-point line. . . . I think he caught Alan off guard because he was so far out. He hit a tough shot."
There is no question that Anderson should have been more closely connected to Irving to guard against the one shot that would win the game.
Toronto Raptors fall to Cleveland Cavaliers in final second
Toronto Star | Jan 27