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Cleveland Cavaliers' Collin Sexton (2) and Toronto Raptors' OG Anunoby (3) battle for a loose ball in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Cleveland.

The Associated Press

Collin Sexton scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half, Jarrett Allen had 17 points and 15 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Toronto 116-105 on Sunday night, handing the Raptors their eighth straight loss.

Dean Wade scored 16 points and Darius Garland had 15 points and six assists for Cleveland, which had dropped five of its previous six. Sexton’s 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers their largest lead at 97-75 early in the fourth.

Fred VanVleet had 23 points and seven assists for Toronto, while Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell each had 18 points. The Raptors have lost eight in a row for the first time since Jan. 10-22, 2012.

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VanVleet nailed a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left to pull Toronto within 110-105, but Larry Nance Jr. answered with a dunk and Wade and Sexton made two free throws apiece to complete the win.

Toronto is a season-worst eight games below .500 and has fallen to 11th in the Eastern Conference, one spot out of the play-in tournament.

Sexton shot 13 of 24 and tied his career best with six 3-pointers, raising his scoring average to 24.2. Cleveland has moved within three games of a play-in spot, but may deal disgruntled centre Andre Drummond before the NBA trade deadline Thursday.

The Cavaliers scored the first 12 points in the third, capped by Sexton’s 3-pointer to seize control 71-57. They finished 17 of 33 beyond the arc and dominated the rebounding battle 54-37, allowing them to overcome 27 turnovers that the Raptors turned into 26 points.

Cleveland carried a 59-57 lead into the break as Sexton scored 13 points and Wade had 11. There were 10 lead changes and seven ties in the first half, which ended with a dust-up between Powell and Sexton, who each received technical fouls.

Powell scored 10 points in the first quarter as Toronto went in front 28-23. Cleveland’s starting frontcourt of Allen, Nance Jr. and Isaac Okoro didn’t score until the 6:34 mark of the second.

TIP-INS

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Raptors: VanVleet has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 69 consecutive games. … F Chris Boucher is the only Toronto player to appear in all 42 contests. … The Raptors play 14 of their next 20 at their temporary home of Tampa. “This season has been about as hard as it could have been, to be honest,” Nurse said. “But I believe these things even out, so things should be looking awesome soon.”

Cavaliers: C JaVale McGee (illness) returned after missing one game. … G Matthew Dellavedova (appendectomy) has participated in back-to-back practices, but was inactive. He suffered a concussion in December and has yet to make his season debut. … G Quinn Cook is expected to sign a second 10-day contract. … F Kevin Love (right calf soreness) and F Taurean Prince (left shoulder sprain) remain out.

SAFETY FIRST

Raptors coach Nick Nurse was fined $50,000 for throwing his face mask behind the scorer’s table Thursday after Toronto’s 115-112 loss to Utah in Tampa, Florida. He expressed regret, explaining that he was struggling to communicate. “Coaching is difficult to do while wearing a mask, but I’ve got to do a better job,” Nurse said. “That’s on me to adjust to it. I just hope the money goes to a good cause.”

UP NEXT

Raptors: Visit Houston on Monday. Lowry collected 20 points, a season-high 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 122-111 home win over the Rockets on Feb. 26.

Cavaliers: Host Sacramento on Monday. The Kings make their first trip to Cleveland since Dec. 7, 2018, and play the Cavaliers for the first time since April 4, 2019.

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