for this game

Varejao's follow dunk lifts Cavs past Raptors

Feb 22, 2007 - 6:46 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- For one night, Anderson Varejao trumped LeBron James.

Varejao jammed home a one-handed dunk off a missed shot with 6.6 seconds left to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 86-85 thrilling victory over the Toronto Raptors, who had their eight-game home winning streak snapped.

Although he did not come up with the spectacular play at the end, James scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half for Cleveland, which has won five of their last six games.

"That was the play of the game by far," James said. "He is a magnet towards offensive and defensive rebounding and it paid off for us."

After a pull-up jumper by James brought the Cavaliers to 85-84 with 2:50 remaining in the game, neither team could score. Raptors All-Star Chris Bosh missed a jumper and the Cavaliers called a timeout with 16 seconds left.

James drove the lane, drew the defense and kicked to the right corner to Sasha Pavlovic, whose 3-pointer bounced off the rim. But Varejao got a running jump to the rim, reached high with his right hand and jammed the rebound home over Bosh.

"When Sasha shot the ball, I saw the ball was going to be kind of short, so I just leaped to the rim and got the dunk," Varejao said.

"I took my eye off him for a second and I was more concentrated on the ball rather than putting a body on him," Bosh said. "I should have executed and that's my fault. It's just one of the little things that can really hurt us and I gave it up."

The Raptors had two chances to win in the final seconds, but T.J. Ford forced a driving layup and Morris Peterson missed a 3-pointer from the left wing off an in-bounds pass at the buzzer.

"The shot felt good and I thought it was going to fall," Peterson said. "I didn't know I was going to be the wide open when I turned around. I squared up, got the look I wanted and it just didn't fall."

Varejao finished with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 15 rebounds. James was 12-of-25 with just four rebounds and two assists.

"In the first quarter, I missed four or five layups I know I can make," James said. "But I was able to get it going in the third quarter, which just shows that I can bounce back."

Bosh had 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 10 rebounds and rookie Andrea Bargnani added 18 points for Toronto, which last won nine straight home games from March 7-April 4, 1999.

"Defensively I think we played pretty well but this was one of those nights where the shots weren't falling and we didn't really look fluid offensively" Bargnani said. "We just have to go back to what we do, move the ball and get it to the open guy."

Cleveland shot 43 percent (36-of-83) and Toronto shot 42 percent (33-of-78).

Toronto had a 48-44 edge at the half behind 12 points and seven rebounds by Bosh before James woke up and scored 10 points in the first 4:14 of the third period on a variety of mid-range jumpers. He finished the period with 13 on 6-of-9 shooting as Toronto took a 71-70 edge.

"LeBron is that kind of player, he didn't start well but he came back and helped get us that win," Varejao said. "We played well defensively and were able to make plays offensively to win the game."

The defensive intensity picked up for both clubs in the fourth. James scored on a dunk off a drive down the right side of the lane to give the Cavs an 80-76 lead with five minutes left.

Bargnani hit a jumper for the Raptors and Bosh followed a missed layup attempt by Anthony Parker to tie the game at 80-80 with 4:19 left. Parker then hit a transition 3-pointer from the right wing before James banked home a short jumper from the left side.

Bosh hit two free throws with 3:09 left before James' jumper.

Cleveland played its third straight game without center Zydrunas Ilguaskas, who was attending to family health matters.

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