The Cleveland Cavaliers just gave themselves some needed cushion in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
With a 104-96 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Cleveland is now three games clear of Toronto and in sole possession of the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. That, as it stands, puts the Cavs in the playoffs without having to worry about the play-in tournament.
Evan Mobley was key for the Cavs, scoring 20 points and tying his career-high with 17 rebounds in the win. Mobley also pulled down a career-best seven offensive rebounds as the Cavs as a team scored 26 second-chance points.
Darius Garland added 17 points and 10 assists for Cleveland with Lauri Markkanen finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Cedi Osman and Kevin Love added 17 and 15 points off the bench respectively.
The game was competitive throughout. The Cavs led by as many as 18 points, but only held a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. It was a five-point game with 1:12 to play after Raptors big man Chris Boucher hit a three-point in front of the Cavs’ bench. Cleveland, however, was able to keep Toronto at bay with a mix of free throw shooting and stops in the final minute-plus.
The Cavs were at times hamstrung by turnovers and, for the game, had 19 turnovers leading to 20 points for the Raptors. They also also center Jarrett Allen to a thigh contusion. Allen left the game near the end of the first quarter and did not return.
Up next: The Cavs next play on Tuesday in Indiana against the Pacers. It marks the start of a three-game road trip that will also take them to Miami and Chicago. Tipoff at 7 p.m.