The Cleveland Cavaliers ended the regular season with a loss to the Toronto Raptors 98-83. Most expected the result, as Tyronn Lue opted to sit LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in preparation for the playoffs. Unlike Monday’s night loss, the Cavaliers never had a chance in this one. Perhaps the most interesting, and important, outcome of the game was Tristan Thompson’s return to the court. The Canadian big man had been out with a thumb injury and it was heartening to see him back in uniform.
The game was never really close. After a first quarter where the Cavs managed to keep the deficit in single digits the Raptors really poured it on. In the second quarter the Raptors outscored the Cavs by 14 and set the tone for the rest of the game. In the end the Raptors won by 15. Again the result was pretty much predetermined before tipoff. The Raptors played many of their key players including Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas while the Cavs big three sat. It certainly was not a fun game to watch from a Cleveland perspective but that’s about the only take away from the game.
The most entertaining part of this game had to be the play of newly signed big man Edy Tavares. The former Atlanta Hawk racked up 6 blocks in his Cavs debut and made an impact on the offensive glass. A lot of folks were miffed when the team signed him and cut Larry Sanders but the (way too) early returns have the move looking like another savvy one by GM David Griffin.
The Cavs finished the year with 51 wins, falling well short of most preseason expectations. They will head into the playoffs as the Eastern Conferences second seed, behind the Boston Celtics. It was a rough regular season but this team’s legacy, just like every Cavs team since LeBrons return, was never going to be made during the regular season. This Cavaliers teams legacy starts now and hopefully the team is ready for the task.