The Cleveland Cavaliers win streak ended at three as they fell to the Toronto Raptors 103-99. The Raptors are now 3-0 in franchise history on Drake night and like Drake, their success felt confusing at times.
The first half of the game was similar to so many before it this season for the Cavaliers. The starters moved the ball very well and made the extra pass to get wide open looks from beyond the arc. When the bench was in ... that was another story. Of course when you only have two starters left your bench is going to be a little sparse. Whatever ground the starters gained, the bench immediately surrendered. Luckily once LeBron James and Kevin Love entered the game again the Cavs were able to regain the lead. The Raptors were lead in the first half by some strong play from Luis Scola and Demar Derozan.
Turnovers were one of the biggest stories of the first half. The Cavs turned the ball over seven times to the Raptors two, largely in part to the occasionally erratic play of Jared Cunningham and the rust of Mo Williams returning from an ankle injury. It was a little surprising to see the Cavs not post up more in the first half, especially with the absence of Jonas Valanciunas. Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson can't handle Kevin Love in the post and it felt like a little bit of a missed opportunity. Although I can see how the team would gravitate to the perimeter with the number of open looks they were able to generate.
The second half the Raptors continued to make a living at the free throw line. They continued to attack the basket and get the whistle. A combination of and ones, big threes and a couple bail out calls were ultimately too much for the Cavs to overcome as they eventually ran out of steam. A career night out of Bismack Biyombo was an unforeseen development. Overall the Cavs bigs performed poorly in protecting the paint and the amount of easy buckets Toronto got created too large of a mountain for Cleveland to climb, especially when they weren't frequently rewarded for their own takes to the basket.
The Cavs are now 3-4 on the road for the season. While the injuries could certainly provide an easy explanation for how the team came out flat, and while some may point to the inconsistencies in how the game was called, the bottom line is that the Cavs came out flat and allowed the home team to get hot and come away with the win. The Cavs play on the road again Friday when they take on the Charlotte Hornets, hopefully it will be a more inspired performance than their one tonight.