The Raptors needed to pull off something special in Game 3 last night in order to slow the juggernaut Cavs on their warpath to post-season perfection. And something special was delivered. It may have taken the form of Kyle Lowry dropping some sweet dimes, or Bismack Biyombo going in for some immaculate stuffs—or even Toronto native Cory Joseph putting on a rare show. But it mostly took the form of some weird-ass chippiness that often slowed the game to a crawl.
Perhaps one of the weirder moments of the game came from a half-assed scuffle that caught LeBron James in the teeth (above). A flagrant was issued on Toronto—seemingly because LeBron made a meal out of contact, taking a dive that led to a half-court-long crocodile mile slide—but the replay clearly proved that it was Tristan Thompson who clipped King James in the face when shrugging off a mini-shoving contest. There was a moment there where it looked like an optical illusion—like this stupid cigar-brick wall thing that's going around—and Thompson's arm was actually DeMarre Carroll's.
Take a look:
The refs took away the technical after review, so that they wouldn't have to hear Cavs fans' shitty social media comments about the play or have to issue some kind of retroactive officiating reports for a bad call, which seems to be happening a lot nowadays. It left everything feeling strangely diffused.
The rest of the bizarre fouls all pertain to Biyombo. Poor, poor Biyombo. He was a monster last night, making some incredible blocks, including this one. But then there were some, let's say questionable moments involving the Raptors center.
With minutes left in the fourth quarter, Biyombo jumped up to try and run interference on LeBron as he pump-faked, only to land his arm around James' shoulder in what looked like a buddy-buddy move. James, yes, engaged in a bit of acting from his Hollywood turn, but ultimately, Biyombo did a full body wrap on James as he knocked the ball out with his other hand. The refs issued a Flagrant 1, and Jeff Van Gundy came in with the hottest of takes, saying that there was no flagrant warranted. To be taken with a box of Morton's.
But, Biyombo may have been picking up some repeat offender prejudice as he came up with this incredible block on LeBron earlier on in the game, which was by no definition a foul. That is, unless you're counting the foul of LeBron's elbow to Bismack's juggular—and again, selling the dive. LeBroni Giacomo, the Italian soccer player.
And if you thought the awkward scrappiness and unresolved physical tension was over, you'd be dead wrong. The final blow came to Biyombo (poor Biyombo), as Dahntay Jones hinged his right arm straight into Biyombo's Toronto Raptors, if you know what I mean.
It's a bizarre way to win a game—still reeling from a shot to the groin. But if that's the kind of throbbing, awkward pain it takes to defeat these seemingly unstoppbale Cavs at 99-84, take all the nut-shots you can get, Toronto.