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Biyombo block on LeBron has fans buzzing as Raptors pull even with Cavaliers

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

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In a game filled with big bodies moving at speed, it was a moment frozen in time.

With 12 seconds left in the first half Monday night, Cleveland’s Kevin Love targeted LeBron James with an ally-oop pass. The Cavs star soared, his yellow-sleeved elbow at the height of the rim.

Most would have bet their mortgage it was dunk time.

But up went a javelin-like Bismack Biyombo, like an Olympic diver going up instead of down. The Toronto big man made contact with the ball with two hands, denying the basket and sending James flying the other way.

Figuring in their salaries, it was a US$25-million collision with James having the much bigger bank account.

The crowd roared, only to crank up the volume when Biyombo was called for a foul. The shot-blocker from the Democratic Republic of Congo ran back to the Toronto end of the court with a big smile on his face as the sellout Air Canada Centre crowd of 20,367, on its feet, barked its disapproval of the call.


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The Internet, sensitive to the one-way traffic on fouls, made noise too.

TSN tweeted the video with the headline: “WATCH: Where is the foul?!”

CBC tweeted: “#RTZ fans: what do you think? Foul or no foul?”

Aaron Miller tweeted: “If Biyombo blocked Lebron on #Twitter he would probably still be called for a foul.”

Toronto, holding off a second-half Cleveland surge, won the game 105-99 to tie the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals at 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday.

With coach Dwane Casey have already been dinged with a US$25,000 fine for being critical of the refs, the Raptors players weren’t looking to have to open their own wallets.

“I don’t want to lose a lot of money on that. It is what it is,” said the six-foot-nine Biyombo, resplendent in dark pinstripes, hat and grey loafers.

But he couldn’t hold back. It looked like he had enjoyed the moment, he was asked.

“I enjoyed the moment because I knew it was a clean block. And I do what I always do which is cover my teammate. That’s all.”

Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll was tight-lipped about the block.

“I saw it,” he said with a smile. “I saw it live. I was as close to you.

“But I don’t know, I’m not a ref. Coach just got fined, didn’t he? I’m not trying to get fined.”

Raptors forward Patrick Patterson, however, credited the officials for getting the call right.

“I thought it was a block from what I was watching. But I went over and talked to the ref and he said that Bis did make contact with his lower body. So obviously it was the right call.”

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