TORONTO (AP) Cleveland’s perfect playoff run went south in the north.
DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, Bismack Biyombo set a Toronto playoff record with 26 rebounds and the Raptors beat Cleveland 99-84 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night, handing the Cavaliers their first loss this postseason.
Kyle Lowry scored 20 points, Cory Joseph added 14, and Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll each had 10 for the Raptors. They rebounded after losing the first two games in Cleveland by a combined 50 points.
In Toronto, where “We The North” is a rallying cry, a sell-out crowd dressed in red and white T-shirts cheered the Raptors to their seventh victory in nine home playoff games. Game 4 is Monday night at Air Canada Centre.
“It’s a long series,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “It’s not over with yet, but everybody thought we were going to get swept. I think that fuels us and if that’s what it takes, so be it.”
LeBron James scored 24 points, and J.R. Smith had 22 for the Cavaliers. They won their first 10 playoff games and were trying to match the Los Angeles Lakers’ record of 11 straight victories to begin a postseason. The Lakers did it in 1989 and again in 2001.
“We didn’t play our game and they made us pay for it,” James said. “We didn’t start the game as physical as we should have at the point of attack.”
Biyombo had four blocks, helping Toronto limit the Cavaliers to 20 points in the paint. The Cavs had 106 points in the paint in the first two games.
“It was amazing, honestly,” DeRozan said about Biyombo’s performance. “He was big time tonight. Without him, we probably would’t get this win.”
“They came out and they beat us,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said. “They were more aggressive. They were more physical. They were more active. They were faster. They beat us to the ball.”
James had five assists, moving past Jason Kidd and into third place on the NBA’s career playoff list.
It was a rough night for Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who scored three points and made just one of nine field goal attempts. Irving also struggled with his shooting, missing 16 of 19.
“Those guys will be better,” James pledged.
Irving checked out at 1:38 of the fourth quarter and had to be helped to the locker room following a collision with Joseph.
“I just got the wind knocked out of me,” Irving said.
With his team ahead by eight, Biyombo scored six straight points in the fourth to put the Raptors up 91-77 at 3:38.
“He was huge,” Casey said. “I thought he played a big-time game in the paint.”
DeRozan scored 12 points in the first but saw a buzzer-beating 3 waved off after video review. Lowry scored eight points despite picking up his second four at 5:40 as Toronto led 30-24 after one. It was the first time in nine quarters this series that the Raptors had outscored the Cavaliers.
Carroll, Joseph and Patterson each made 3-pointers during a 16-2 Toronto run midway through the second as the Raptors overcame Lowry’s third foul to take a 54-37 lead.
James went down clutching his face after being accidentally elbowed by Thompson during a scuffle at center court late in the second. Thompson and Joseph were given technicals on the play. James recovered to make a 3 in the final seconds, but Cleveland trailed 60-47 at halftime.
“Our second quarter lineup didn’t do a great job of paying attention to detail,” James said. “They were able to bust the game open.”
Biyombo went down in pain at the end of the game after taking a knock below the belt. “I got hit in an area I probably wasn’t supposed to get hit in,” Biyombo said. “Whenever the league has a chance they should take a look.”
Lue said he had no problem with Biyombo wagging his finger, Dikembe Mutombo-style, after blocked shots. “They were kicking our butts, so he should have the right to wave his finger until we do something about it,” Lue said. For his part, Biyombo said he’d got a “licence” from Mutombo to copy Hall of Famer’s celebration.
Cavaliers: Irving and Love combined to shoot 0 for 9 in the first. … Matthew Dellavedova played after suffering a sprained left ankle in Game 2.
Raptors: Biyombo set a Toronto playoff record with 16 rebounds in the first half. He broke Jonas Valanciunas‘ record of 15, set against Indiana in Game 1 of the first round. Biyombo had 10 rebounds in the first quarter alone.