Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Records: Raptors (24-9); Cavs (8-24)
Where to Watch
Date: Friday, Dec. 21, 2018
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Radio: SN 590
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
The Raptors are 2-0 this season against the Cleveland Cavaliers after defeating them on opening night and then again on December 1st 106-95 in Cleveland. This is the third of fourth matchups between the two teams - Cleveland will host the Raptors on March 11 to close out the series.
With injuries hitting the Cavaliers look for Cedi Osman to step up his play. Osman has started all but one game for the Cavs this season averaging 11.2 points, 5.0 rebounds per game. In the two loss against Toronto, the 23-year-old is averaging 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds.
Rookie Collin Sexton has had some decent stretches this season and his averages of 15.0 points, 3.0 rebounds on 44.2% from the field have quietly been solid enough that he should be in the mix at the Rising Star Challenge on All-Star weekend in Charlotte. However, his last four outings - where the Cavs have lost three of the last four - have left a lot to be desired. Sexton is struggling from the field shooting just 35.8% and 14.3% from three over those four games and his only averaging 10.0 points per contest. He's had tough point guard matchups in those games going up against the likes of Ben Simmons and Kemba Walker and even with Kyle Lowry sitting out with a thigh injury, Fred VanVleet should be a handful for the young rookie.
Toronto won't listen to the Cavs complain about injuries too much as they've been hit with the injury bug themselves. The aforementioned Lowry will indeed sit out on Friday and most likely Saturday against the 76ers, Jonas Valanciunas will continue to miss time with a hand injury and Serge Ibaka will be a game-time decision with a knee injury.
The keys to the Raptors offence will once again be in the hands of Kawhi Leonard. Leonard will not only have to continue to score but help VanVleet with playmaking duties as well. On Wednesday against the Pacers, Leonard came one assist shy of his career mark. If there's one area to nitpick Kawhi this season is he hasn't been able to show his ability to make plays as DeMar DeRozan had before him. With the roster shorthanded, Raptors' fans will have the ability to see Kawhi in more of a facilitative role until healthy bodies make their return.
Friday also marks the 200th consecutive sellout at Scotiabank Arena (including playoffs). The streak started on November 11, 2014, and it is the longest in franchise history.
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 1, 2018
Score: Raptors 106, Cavs 95 (Box Score)
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 34 points, nine rebounds, two assists
Cavs: Tristan Thompson - 18 points, 19 rebounds, three assists