TORONTO - Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott made one suggestion to Kyrie Irving during a timeout with 12.6 seconds left on the clock.
He told the point guard to go for the win.
Irving heeded the request and hit a 28-foot pull-up jumper with 00.9 seconds left in the game as the Cavaliers came back to defeat the Toronto Raptors 99-98.
"We had a quick little conversation and he said what should I do?" Scott said. "And I said we're just going to clear it out for you. Me, personally, I would go for the win. Don't leave much time up there, just go for the win. He said, 'that's what I'm going to do, sounds good.'"
Then Scott added with a chuckle, "Great coaching, that's all I can say."
The winning shot gave Irving 32 points to lead all scorers in the game played before a crowd of 18,820 at Air Canada Centre. It was the Cavaliers' their third win in a row.
"Down the stretch, my teammates and my coaching staff just having confidence in me, it just makes it easier in the fourth quarter for me to play my game," Irving said.
Before the Cavaliers called the timeout, the Raptors -- who led by 11 points at one stage of the fourth quarter -- took the lead on a driving layup by Jose Calderon after Irving had tied the game on a layup.
With the game in the balance, it was Irving again, but this time he did not go for the tie.
"It's a good time to say he would do it and then go out and do it," Scott said. "I wasn't surprised, I was just maybe giddy for a minute. I just told him I'm glad he took my advice, went for the win, went for the kill."
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was a bit surprised by Irving's play.
"I don't know how far [Irving] was," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. "I didn't measure it but he's four or five feet beyond the 3-point line. We wanted to push them. If they were going to make a shot, make a two. Get them off the 3-point line, make sure they got it in penetration. I think he caught Alan [Anderson] off-guard a little bit because he was so far out and hit a tough shot."
"Well, [Anderson] was at the 3-point line," Irving said. "I was a little further back. Until I shot I didn't realize how far back I was. He was playing the 3-point line and I was lucky enough for it to go in."
The Cavaliers got 17 points off the bench by Marreese Speights, 14 from Toronto native Tristan Thompson and 12 from Wayne Ellington who hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Amir Johnson led Toronto with 18 points and had 12 rebounds. Anderson scored 17 after coming off the bench. Ed Davis added 16, DeMar DeRozan 15 and Calderon 10 for the Raptors.
"Kyrie threw up a bomb and made a heck of a shot," Johnson said. "He pretty much facilitated the game. He was driving and making shots and we did our best to double team him. He just made some really tough shots. He made one at the end that was I don't know how many feet away from the 3-point line but he made it."
Anderson opened the fourth quarter with a driving layup to give Toronto an 11-point lead. But a pair of 3-pointers by Ellington keyed a 12-0 run that gave the Cavaliers an 80-79 lead with 8:47 to play.
Terrence Ross hit a 3-pointer to put Toronto back in front. Johnson's running slam dunk increased the lead to four points with 6:57 left in the fourth.
The Cavs kept coming back and took the lead on another 3-pointer by Ellington with 4:45 to play. They got the lead up to five before Ross made a 3-pointer for Toronto. After Dion Waiters and Davis exchanged layups, the Cavaliers led 94-92 with 2:30 to go.
A steal by Calderon set up Ross for a layup that tied the game. And when Waiters missed a jumper, Toronto came back to take a 96-94 lead on a running dunk by Johnson with 1:16 to play. After both teams could not convert chances, Irving tied it for Cleveland with 34 seconds left, but Calderon gave Toronto the lead again before Irving went to work.
The Raptors maintained their four-point halftime lead for the first seven minutes of the third quarter before Johnson made a layup and the resulting free throw for a seven-point Toronto lead. DeRozan hit one of two free throws to put Toronto up by eight. The lead stayed there after Irving and Calderon traded 3-pointers. Alonzo Gee converted two free throws with 2:49 left in the quarter to bring the Cavs back to within four points.
But when Anderson made a 21-foot jumper with 6.9 seconds left in the third quarter, Toronto's lead increased to 75-66.
DeRozan scored 12 points to help the Raptors to a 25-19 lead after the first quarter. The Raptors led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter but the Cavs cut the lead to 50-46 by the intermission as Irving scored eight of his 13 first-half points in the quarter. Cleveland lost guard Daniel Gibson at the half with a sprained toe.
NOTES: Raptors forward-center Andrea Bargnani (right elbow) and center Jonas Valanciunas (right ring finger) are getting close to a return. "Sooner rather than later," Casey said before the game. He thinks that Bargnani likely will return first. ... Raptors forward Landry Fields started despite feeling the effects of the flu. ... Cavaliers forward-center Tyler Zeller played for two seasons with Raptors forward Ed Davis at North Carolina. ... The Cavs beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-108 on Friday after trailing by 20 points. They have a three-game winning streak at home for the first time since Nov. 16-27, 2010. ... Friday was the first time Cleveland won after trailing by 20 or more points since March 5, 2010, when they beat the Detroit Pistons after trailing by 21 points. ... Saturday was the second of four meetings between the teams.
Toronto won 113-99 in Cleveland on Dec. 18. ... DeRozan's buzzer-beater on Thursday to defeat the Magic 97-95 in Orlando was Toronto's first since T.J. Ford's shot as time ran out beat the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 20, 2006. ... The Raptors wore camouflage uniforms on Saturday as the team honored the Canadian Forces. ... The Raptors are at home to face the Golden State Warriors on Monday and the Cavs play host to the Warriors on Tuesday.