clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Final Score: Cleveland Cavaliers lose 124-121 to start 2024 vs. Toronto Raptors

The Cavs could not get it done against the Toronto Raptors

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped their first game of 2024 with a 124-121 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. Let’s get into it.

Nightly Notables

Caris LeVert was the Cavs’ leading scorer, finishing with 31 points off of the bench. Donovan Mitchell added 26, while Isaac Okoro, Jarrett Allen and Sam Merrill all added 16. Toronto’s Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 36 points.

Well... that happened

Two things really cost the Cavs. First, they struggled to offensive rebound, nabbing offensive rebounds on 17.9% of their possessions. That’s in line with the numbers Cleveland has posted during these recent performances when they’ve lost.

The defense just also wasn’t good enough. Giving up 123 points (spearheaded by a 41-point first quarter) and have no real ability to stop the Raptors when they needed to was costly. Just a little more on defense, maybe one better defender healthy right now, and maybe the Cavs could find that blend of offense and defense that is escaping them right now.

On a play note, Mitchell’s last shot — a pull-up three with 18 seconds to go — was forced. The Cavs had time there to either call a timeout or look for a better shot. Instead, they forced that. A better look there was there with just a little more patience and intent.

Big Picture

From here, the Cavs get three of the easier games they’ll get all year, all at home: the Wizards twice and then the Spurs. This is a tough loss to start 2024 in a tightly packed Eastern Conference. But there is now a run of games for the Cavs to get wins at home, build good habits and continue this overall positive run.

Up next: The Cavs return home on Wednesday for the start of a two-game series against the Washington Wizards. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.