Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (8-24) at Toronto Raptors (24-9)
When? 7:00 p.m.
Where? Scotiabank Arena — Toronto, Ontario
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Cavs status update: Kevin Love (Foot - Out), John Henson (Wrist - Out), Tristan Thompson (Foot - Out), J.R. Smith (Not with team), Matthew Dellavedova (Knee - Questionable)
Raptors status update: Kyle Lowry (Thigh - Questionable), Serge Ibaka (Knee - Questionable), Jonas Valanciunas (Thumb - Out)
It might be the Raptors turn to show the Cavs what getting swept feels like. Sure, nobody tracks season series and it doesn’t come with the same embarrassment as the playoffs, but it’s hard to deny that the tables have turned in the East.
Toronto has taken over from Cleveland as the best team in the conference and even with their injuries, have continued to stay atop the standings. But with three starting caliber players out of the lineup, this could be a chance for the Cavs to steal a game.
Both teams are coming off of wins over the Indiana Pacers that came via game winning shots. The Cavaliers have been playing better lately, as the team is finally starting to learn how to play with the pieces that they have.
One interesting thing to keep an eye on will be the play of Collin Sexton. As is the case every night this season, the continued growth of the rookie point guard is the most important thing for the future of the team.
Out of all the team’s Sexton has played this season, his second lowest average points per game comes against the Raptors. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Sexton has struggled against the better defenses in the league, especially teams with length.
With matchups against the Bucks, Sixers, and Pacers in the last few games, Sexton is facing his first real slump since finding his footing. The Raptors will be another tough challenge for him, with or without Kyle Lowry, so this is a real opportunity to come out and show some growth from his recent struggles.
Even if the solution is to not press, give the ball up, and let ball movement create looks rather than forcing things, it would be nice to see some adjustments from the rookie guard.
Outside of that, this game is another good opportunity for Larry Nance Jr. Toronto is missing two of their best centers and this should create an opportunity to generate second chances and feast on the interior. It’s on Nance to level the playing field, as Toronto clearly has the edge in talent.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
While Toronto is the better team, they haven’t really had many dominant wins lately. I think this is a good opportunity for the Cavs to come out and really make a game of it. Nance has another strong outing that ultimately comes up short, as the Cavs lose 108-104.