TORONTO (AP) - A terrible third quarter in Toronto brought Cleveland’s season-long winning streak to a sudden halt.
Valanciunas had 10 points in the game-changing third as Toronto took control, outscoring Cleveland 37-21.
“We came out very soft and stagnant,” Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson said. “We didn’t make it tough for them on the offensive end.”
Toronto coach Dwane Casey called the third quarter effort “unbelievable” after his team struggled to score in the opening 24 minutes.
“I thought there was a lid on the basket in the first half,” Casey said.
Toronto reached the 30-win plateau in its 55th game, a feat that took 78 games to achieve last season. The Raptors also improved to 10-3 at home since Jan. 1.
Luol Deng had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 17 as the Cavaliers lost for the first time since Feb. 5 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Cleveland failed to record its first seven-game winning streak since LeBron James led the team to eight straight in 2010.
“We played a hell of a first half on both ends of the floor and then in that third quarter we just came out flat,” Irving said.
Irving, who made just three of 16 shot attempts, said the Cavaliers turned a corner by winning six straight but know there’s still room for improvement.
“I feel like we’ve got to get better at stopping other teams’ runs, just taking a stance at both ends of the floor,” he said. “Especially when we come out flat and our offense isn’t going, we’ve just got to rely on our defense. In the six wins we had, we’ve done that. Tonight, this was the first night we kind of let it get away from us.”
Thompson scored 13 points for Cleveland, whose three-game road winning streak also came to an end. The Cavaliers, now 8-21 overall on the road, had not lost away from home since a Feb. 3 defeat at Dallas.
“For us to give up 37 points in the third quarter and expect to win on the road was tough,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said.
Playing in his hometown for the first time, Cleveland’s Anthony Bennett scored nine points. Bennett was the top pick in last year’s draft, becoming the first Canadian to be selected first overall.