The Toronto Raptors held a lead in the game's final seconds only to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight. It's a familiar refrain, only tonight it was Kyrie Irving playing the role of the fat lady.
Jose Calderon had just hit a driving lay-up to give Toronto the lead, and now the Cavs, down two, were via a timeout, huddling around their coach, planning their attack.
Kyrie Irving was obviously getting the ball, but would he look to pull in Toronto's D to find Wayne Ellington for an open look?
How about a dish inside to Canadian Tristan Thompson?
Or a foray to the rim himself, looking to draw a foul?
Kyrie chose none of the above, going with plan D, a straight-away 3-point shot from what looked like 40 feet away.
Well, not quite. With about a second left, Jose Calderon inbounded the ball towards the rim, hoping to find Amir Johnson, but the pass was intercepted, and then, yes, game over at last.
The funny thing is, after reading the first sentence, you probably could have guessed how this one was going to end up. Toronto is now an incredible 1 and 17 in games they trail by five or less points in final three minutes. We've spoken about it at length on the site of late and again tonight, fourth quarter execution was a major issue. The Raps were outscored 33 to 23 in the final quarter, as the Raps' D went on hiatus. Cleveland hit 13 of 19 field goals and out-rebounded Toronto 10 to 5.
However we'd be remiss to discuss the events of the fourth quarter without pointing out the difference Kyrie Irving made.
He finished with 32 points on 50 per cent shooting, and gave the Dinos major headaches from the time he re-entered the game with 7:45 left. Toronto was unfortunately unable to put this one away when he was on the pine for a breather, and as has been the case all season, the club paid for it in the long run.
This was again another example of Toronto's "perfect storm" as I've been calling it as their effort and intensity was enough to keep them in it all game, even ahead for the bulk of the affair, but without a perfect effort, the door was left open for their opponent.
And Kyrie Irving with his game-winning dagger, kicked the damn thing wide open.
The Raps now have to lick their wounds and prepare for a difficult stretch of matches starting Monday against Golden State.
The club then takes on the Hawks, Clippers, Heat, Celtics and Pacers before getting a break with the New Orleans Hornets.
So yes...you could say this was one they needed to get.