Now that’s more like it! Suffering from a six-game losing streak and staring down winners of eight straight in the New York Knicks, the Toronto Raptors, on the masterful-back of Pascal Siakam, finally broke their longest losing streak in years! Speaking of Siakam, how can we not – for good measure – mention the resounding 52-point night that he put up? Long knowing that Julius Randle can’t guard him, Pascal feasted at every opportunity that came his way. He found his way to the line for 18 FTs and 68% shooting from the field. If it weren’t for a swath of games lost to injury near the early part of the season, one could wonder what the discourse around these Raptors would look like. Safe bet to say they wouldn’t be where they’re at in the standings and Toronto fans would be spared the never-ending trade-discourse. Gary! OG! Pascal! Fred! All four of those guys have been given a workout in the ESPN Trade Machine as the losses piled up.
But enough about the Knicks and enough about trades, both things are long in the rearview mirror (if they were ever there at all) for the Raptors. They have a new opponent to focus on, albeit a familiar one, in the Cleveland Cavaliers and the last time these two teams squared off, the Raptors stymied the Cavs – allowing 88 points – and snapped Donovan Mitchell’s 121-game, double-digit scoring streak.
Well, there’s a new streak to snap, as the Cavs enter tonight’s game on a 5-game winning streak where they have looked extremely sharp in beating another Eastern conference powerhouse in the Milwaukee Bucks. This time though, a couple of key differences loom from when Toronto last saw them. From a personnel perspective, the Cavs will have long-time Raptor-killer, Jarrett Allen, back in the starting lineup; however, they could be without Evan Mobley and will not have sharpshooter Dean Wade in the lineup. What a terrible, terrible shame.
What this will come down to, as it often does for Toronto, is playing their brand of basketball and not whoever is in front of them. If the Raptors can manage to impose their identity on the game from start to finish, then fans could be in for that aforementioned streak-snapping as well as the commencement of a new one, a Toronto winning streak!
Lineup-wise, Khem Birch is still ill and won’t play, but Gary Trent Jr. will return to the lineup for the Raptors. Evan Mobley, who was questionable with a sore knee, will play for the Cavs.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Juancho Hernangomez
Cleveland Cavaliers — Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen
Toronto Raptors — Precious Achiuwa (out – ankle), Khem Birch (out – non-COVID illness) Otto Porter Jr. (out – foot)
Cleveland Cavaliers — Ricky rubio (out – knee), Lamar Stevens (knee – out), Dean Wade (shoulder– out), Dylan Windler (ankle – out)