The Cleveland Cavaliers look to extend their winning streak to six games as they head to Toronto to take on the Eastern Conference leading Raptors. The Raptors will be without their All Star guard DeMar Derozan, but still have enough firepower to be considered a real test.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (10-7) vs. Toronto Raptors (15-4)
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Where on my eyeballs: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass and TSN 2 for any other canucks out there.
Tonight's game will feature a head to head match up with, arguably, the two best point guards in the East in Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry. Lowry was snubbed of an all star spot last year and has come back strong averaging 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds a game for the Raptors. With Derozan out with a groin injury, Lowry has shouldered a larger scoring load and is coming off a 39 point outing against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Irving is of course coming off an impressive 37 point game against the Knicks. This match up should be a true test for Irving and his newly proclaimed conviction towards the defensive side of the court.
One aspect of the game that could go a long way towards determining the outcome will be the battle on the boards. Toronto is currently ranked 24th in rebounds per game and their big men range between inconsistent and poor on the glass throughout their career. If the Cavs can limit the amount of second chance opportunities as well as punish the Raptors on the offensive boards, it will help limit a Toronto offense that is second in the league in points per game.
On the perimeter Toronto will be starting Greivis Vasquez in the place of DeMar Derozan. Vasquez is not a particularly quick guard and struggles to finish at the rim, but he's a good three point shooter and a skilled playmaker. Both he and Lou Williams will see significant time in this game with Derozan out and it will be very important that the Cavs limit the amount of life they provide to their team. In the first match up, Williams went off for a career high 36 points and abused a very confused Will Cherry. Without the spark that Williams provided that game, the Raps could have easily been buried. But that is their identity. You never know who is going to beat you, but they rely on chemistry and the hot hand to overcome what they may lack in personnel. They do everything well and it will require a complete effort from the Cavs in order to beat them.
Mandatory Kyrie in Toronto video:
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
Kevin Love abuses Amir Johnson, leading the Cavs in scoring and opening things up for a balanced team win. Cavs take it 108-102.