The Cleveland Cavaliers aren't where most thought they'd be at this point in the season. Early struggles were expected, sure, but the Cavs look largely lost at times. Take last night's loss against the Wizards for example: The Cavs were lethargic and John Wall owned the Cavs in the third quarter. There were bright spots, sure, but nothing was consistently good. And nothing has been all season.
At 10-2, the Toronto Raptors are at the top of the East and have established themselves early in the season as a very good team. This might not go well.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
Television: Fox Sports Ohio
Music: Worst Behavior by Drake
The Cavs, in fact, are on their worst behavior.
Also, sorry. I genuinely like Drake and think he's really talented. Sue me.
The Raptors wings might eat the Cavs alive. In theory, lineups with LeBron James and Shawn Marion should be able to defend Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan. Alas, the Cavs have been horrible on defense so far this season. Per 82games.com, none of the Cavs' top-10 lineups are giving up less then 100 points per possession.
And just imagine when James and/or Marion is off the floor. Both DeRozen and Ross rely heavily on penetrating and scoring inside. The Cavs could then would be relying on Joe Harris, Mike Miller and Dion Waiters to defend Toronto's attacks with no real rim protection as the last line of defense. That might not go well.
Kevin Love genuinely looks frustrated. While LeBron has somewhat come back to form and Kyrie Irving has been largely awesome this season, but Love hasn't found this place. Through 11 games, Love is shooting 38.8 percent from the field and is shooting 40.5 percent on two-point field goals. In his career, Love only has one season - his 2012-13 season where he only played 18 games - where he shot 46 percent on two-point shots. Last year, Love shot a career best 50.2 percent inside the arc.
Some of that may have to do where and how Love is getting the ball. With the Timberwolves, the offense ran through Love either on the block or in the high post. Now, Love gets the ball largely behind the 3-point line and is a safety valve when the Cavs run pick and rolls. An adjustment to how Love is getting the ball, it seems, would help.
Kyrie Irving will matched up with Kyle Lowry and it should be interesting to watch. Lowry is super crafty and is a tricky player to defend. When he drives, he actually gets lower to ground in order to avoid getting his shot blocked and is excellent at penetrating the lane. He probably should have been an All-Star last season and he's been really good again through 12 games this season.
Irving, although he's been more active than in years past, is still a minus defender. He's also highly susceptible to pick an rolls - something the Raptors can do effectively in a variety of different ways. It doesn't help that the Cavs have a tendency to over rotate inside and lack a presence in the middle that could frustrate Lowry and make him easier to guard outside.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction: With how the Cavs played last night, it's hard to feel optimistic about the Cavs' chances here. Even if the Cavs look better on offense, the Raptors are a very good offensive team. Raptors 103, Cavs 97.