The Cleveland Cavaliers will look to salvage their weekend home-and-home series against the visiting Toronto Raptors.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors
Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse - Cleveland, Ohio
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio
Spread: CLE -2.5
Expected Cavs Starting Lineup:
Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen
Cavs Injury Report: Darius Garland (neck, QUESTIONABLE), Ricky Rubio (Personal, OUT), Ty Jerome (ankle, OUT), Isaiah Mobley (G League, OUT), Dean Wade (ankle, OUT), Emoni Bates (G League, OUT)
Expected Raptors Starting Lineup:
Dennis Schroder, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakim, Jakob Poeltl
Raptors Injury Report: Gradey Dick (G League, OUT), Ron Harper Jr. (G League, OUT), Javon Freeman-Liberty (G League, OUT), Chrsitian Koloko (illness, OUT), Markquis Nowell (G League, OUT)
What to watch for
Avoid the trap game
The Cavs have had a string of emotional games lately. The In-Season Tournament win over the Philadelphia 76ers and last night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers are two of them. Following that game against the Sixers, the tired Cavs were stomped by the Miami Heat at home. Will the same thing happen against the pesky Raptors?
Toronto is more rested and healthier than the Cavs right now, with Cleveland down several rotation players. While the return of Donovan Mitchell and Isaac Okoro against the Lakers was nice to see, Darius Garland missed the second half due to a neck injury. Mitchell played exceedingly poorly against the Lakers and, if Garland misses tonight’s game, what will the offense look like?
One stat to watch
The Cavs went into the season with the intent of getting up more three-pointers and running a faster-paced offense. So far, those things have not really happened. Cleveland is still bottom-ten in the NBA in pace and actually slightly worse in terms of three-point shots per game per Cleaning the Glass. The injuries have certainly gotten in the way of achieving those goals, but the Cavs have not been able to generate good offense regardless. They are 24th in the league in offensive rating, down from seventh last season, and look all out of sorts without a stable playmaker on the floor. Garland’s absence impacts the flow of the offense in a big way.