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Final Score: Cavs don’t have Kawhi Leonard, lose to Raptors 106-95

Having a star matters.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers had chances against the Raptors. Toronto let a double-digit lead drip into the single digits on multiple occasions. Kyle Lowry didn’t play. Cleveland was even within 10 points with under four minutes to go after trailing by as many as 21 in the second half.

The one major difference, however: the Cavs didn’t have Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors did. That may have been the biggest difference in their 106-95 loss Saturday night in Cleveland.

Leonard scored a game-high 34 points — 11 of which came in the fourth quarter — to carry the Raptors. In the fourth, until he was pulled late, did everything for the Raptors. He drove to the rim and got fouled. He made threes. He picked up steals. And any time he implemented himself into the game, the Cavs had no answer. Jordan Clarkson hero ball only gets a team so far.

Clarkson and Tristan Thompson co-lead the Cavs with 18 points each.

When the Cavs did make a push in the fourth quarter, Collin Sexton found himself on the bench behind Clarkson, Thompson Alec Burks, Rodney Hood and Cedi Osman. The group had success near the end of the third and for parts of the fourth in getting the Cavs back in game. Sexton finished with 10 points and on 5-12 shooting and airballed his only three-point attempt.

The loss drops the Cavs to 4-18 on the season. They next play on Monday in Brooklyn against the Nets. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.