Stoudamire nets 18 against buddy Brandon

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND Terrell Brandon won the battle against hometown friend and rival Damon Stoudamire on Tuesday night, although it was close.

Brandon scored 25 points and had seven assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Toronto Raptors 93-89, who were paced by Stoudamire's 18 points. The rookie guard also had four assists and three steals for the first-year Raptors.

''It was nice to see another Portland guy out there, but it was nicer to get the win and also individually it was nice to get ahead of him,'' Brandon said.

Brandon scored six of the Cavaliers' last eight points as Cleveland (5-8) moved past Toronto (5-10) and into sixth place in the Central Division of the NBA.

''Terrell played a good game this evening, but it wasn't a one-on-one battle between us,'' Stoudamire said. ''I've been playing against him for so long back home I know what he does and he knows what I do.

''It was fun, but it was frustrating because this was a game we should have won. We have to execute better down the stretch.''

Brandon did just that. He sank a 15-foot jumper to give Cleveland an 87-82 lead, but Stoudamire countered with a layup off a pass from Alvin Robertson, then stole the ball and scored on a fastbreak layup to pull Toronto within 87-86.

Brandon came right back with a fastbreak layup of his own, then rebounded a missed shot by Stoudamire and sank a 20-foot jumper for a 91-86 lead with 1:12 to play.

After a Toronto timeout, Willie Anderson made a 3-point shot for his only points of the second half to pull the Raptors within 91-89.

The Cavaliers turned the ball over and Toronto had a chance to tie the score, but John Salley was whistled for charging into Danny Ferry with 28.5 seconds to play.

''He fell into it,'' Salley said of Ferry. ''You have to have quick feet to get to a spot before me. He didn't, but the ref didn't see it that way.

''We lost a game we should have won because we got fatigued and made a couple critical turnovers. They shot well (53 0.000000rom the field), but this should have been our second back-to-back victory.''

Cleveland's Chris Mills finished the scoring with a 17-foot jumper from the wing with 6.3 seconds left.

''I saw the shot clock under 10 and I knew there was no sense to try and penetrate, then put a teammate into the predicament,'' Mills said.

Tracy Murray's wild 3-point shot for Toronto missed as time expired.

Robertson backed Stoudamire with 13 points and Anderson and Murray each scored 12. Bobby Phills had 21 and Mills 17 for Cleveland.

Toronto was without center Oliver Miller and forward Carlos Rogers. Miller suffered a sprained ankle during Toronto's 101-98 victory over Golden State on Monday night and did not make the trip to Cleveland. Rogers complained of an upset stomach before the game and did not suit up.

''We saw that and wanted to penetrate the middle and create opportunities,'' Brandon said. ''Toronto has one of the best shot-blocking teams in the league. They try to pack it in, so we wanted to go in there, then dish it back out.''

The depleted Raptors raced to a 24-12 lead nonetheless as Zan Tabak, starting in place of Miller, scored six points on three slam dunks.

Brandon and Phills scored Cleveland's final 16 points of the first half as Cleveland rallied to tie the score 46-46. Brandon had 10 points during a 14-6 run by Cleveland.

''If you look at the way the game was going, we had guys in foul trouble and Cleveland made a lot of things happen,'' Stoudamire said. ''The complexion of the game changed and it was a see-saw battle the rest of the way.''

Toronto led at halftime 50-48, but Ferry scored on a short hook shot to start the second half, then Brandon stole a pass by Stoudamire and fed Mills for a driving layup that gave Cleveland its first lead, 50-48, at 1:27 of the third quarter.

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