Well, 40 points from Jimmy Butler in the second half carried the Bulls to a comeback win over the Raptors yesterday, who don't have much time to regroup (probably for the better) as they're in Cleveland tonight to face the Cavs, who have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love all rearing to go. The Raptors beat the Cavs 103-99 at home back on November 25th (Drake Night!) and will look for another win over the East leaders tonight.
Here are three things to look for:
1. LeBron James from the perimeter:
The worst high-volume shooters from outside the paint, a list topped by LeBron James & Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/Sn4CW6C9O7— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) December 29, 2015
A bit of a surprising stat last week to find LeBron atop the list of worst high-volume shooters, although it's been a trend that's carried over from last year's playoffs. Now that Irving has returned, you have to imagine it will free up LeBron to not only play less minutes, but have less of the ball handling duties when he's on the floor, which should in theory translate into a higher shooting percentage for him. And despite having a subpar shooting season, he's still averaging 25.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
2. DeMar DeRozan's surge:
DeMar is now averaging 22.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists on the season. In December, he averaged 25.0/4.9/4.3 and shot 47 percent from the field and attempted 8.5 free throws per game. We'll see what he has in store for January.
3. January win-loss record:
The Raptors opened January with three straight losses last year, finishing the month 9-7, and then swooned to 4-7 in February and 7-8 in March. They're hoping to avoid a similar fall in the standings this season, especially with the second seed right there for the taking. Even though seeding in the East (possibly 2 thru 8) looks like it won't be determined until the final few weeks of the season, this month could prove crucial to determining whether this Raptors team is fighting for one of the final playoff spots, or competing for the number two spot. Or, maybe nothing will be decided over the next few weeks. The East is too tricky to figure out this season.
Where to watch: 7:00 pm est, Sportsnet One