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Game thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Toronto Raptors look to finish the season strong — just 10 games remaining — starting tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers
Pascal Siakam turns the corner against Lauri Markkanen.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Welcome back to “Every Game is the Most Important Game of the Season”! The Toronto Raptors, who currently sit 2.5 games ahead of the now nearly-full-health Brooklyn Nets, are primed to take on the team that currently sits one game ahead of them, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not only do the Cavs sit a game ahead of Toronto, they also reside in the final, guaranteed playoff seed. To say the Raptors need this one would be an understatement, as a 1-game play-in would be best avoided.

Both teams come into the game banged up. Toronto is still without one of, if not their best defender, in OG Anunoby, as well as their walking, well-dressed heat-check, Gary Trent Jr. The Cavs are without their All-Star big, Jarret Allen, who has a penchant for killing the Raps as well as semi-recent trade acquisition Rajon Rondo and 3-point marksman Dean Wade. What both of these teams do and will have is an urgency to get out ahead of the other, especially with the heaps of rest they’ll have as both haven’t played since March 21st.

The Raptors have struggled with Cleveland’s length throughout the year, as Cleveland as won all three games the two teams have played against each other. Will tonight be more of the same with the absence of Jarrett Allen? Which rookie phenom in Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley will pull ahead in the battle for Rookie of the Year consideration? Which All Star point guard in Fred VanVleet and Darius Garland will push past the other to take reigns of the game?

Tune in with the details below!

Where to Watch:

Sportsnet, 7:30 p.m.

Lineups:

Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch

Cleveland — Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens, Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen

Injuries:

Toronto — Gary Trent Jr. (toe – out), Malachi Flynn (hamstring – out), OG Anunoby (finger – questionable)

Cleveland — Jarett Allen (finger – out), Rajon Rondo (ankle – out), Colin Sexton (knee – out), Dean Wade (knee – out)