Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Records: Raptors (20-32), Cavaliers (19-32)
Where to Watch
Date: Saturday, April 10
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
It may sound dramatic, but the season has reached the point of now or never for the Raptors.
Following a loss to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, Toronto is two-and-a-half games out of the East's final play-in spot with 20 games remaining on its 72-game schedule. Further complicating matters is that the team continues to battle with injuries and has officially lost the tiebreaker to the Bulls, owners of the coveted 10th seed.
TAKEAWAYS: Shorthanded Raptors no match for Bulls
In order to make up ground - and avoid falling behind - the Raptors must quickly string together wins as one good stretch could completely alter the outlook of the team's playoff aspirations. With respect to falling behind, Toronto enters Saturday with just a half-game lead over a Cleveland team that has won two in a row and, as we saw in the first meeting, won't back down.
Working in the Raptors' favour is that they won't be as shorthanded as they were in Thursday's loss when just eight active players suited up. With a tight rotation, it was Chris Boucher that stepped up as much as possible, putting forth the best statistical performance of his career with 38 points and 19 rebounds in 36 minutes of action.
MORE: Boucher opens up on what sparked career night
After Boucher, it was Pascal Siakam, who executed his patented spin move to perfection to finish with 27 points (on 10-for-17 shooting). After that duo, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. struggled, combining to score 19 points on 7-for-31 shooting.
Siakam will be out on Saturday night for rest purposes as the team gears up for the front end of a back-to-back.
While Anunoby and Trent are sure to improve upon their shooting performances, Toronto will welcome DeAndre' Bembry back into action after he served a league-mandated one-game suspension for leaving the bench area during an altercation in the team's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
In addition to Bembry, the team could be welcoming Rodney Hood back to action as he is listed as probable while Kyle Lowry's return is doubtful. The Raptors will remain without Fred VanVleet, who will serve a suspension once he's back from a left hip injury and fans might have to wait for the debut of recent 10-day signing Freddie Gillespie, who has yet to clear Health and Safety Protocols while reported addition Khem Birch will not clear waivers soon enough to join the team in Cleveland.
MORE: What Birch brings to the Raptors
The Cavaliers will be without a few key big men in Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. on Saturday but during their recent win streak, it has been the play of the young backcourt duo of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton that has set the tone.
In a commanding win over the San Antonio Spurs Monday, Garland erupted for a career-high 37 points (on 14-for-22 shooting) to go along with seven assists and in a blowout victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, Sexton led all scorers with 27 points (on 9-for-17 shooting).
This season, Sexton is averaging a team-high 24.0 points per game and, if you recall from the first meeting between Toronto and Cleveland, the 22-year-old's fiery competitive spirit led to a heated exchange between the two teams at the half.
As question marks surround the availability of Lowry, it will be up to Bembry and rookie Malachi Flynn to make things difficult for the Cavs' prolific guard duo.
|Team||Player Name||Current Status||Reason|
|TOR@CLE||Cleveland Cavaliers||Jarrett Allen||Out||Injury/Illness - Head; Concussion|
|Larry Nance Jr.||Out||Injury/Illness - Illness; Illness|
|Dylan Windler||Out||Injury/Illness - Left Knee; Soreness|
|Toronto Raptors||Freddie Gillespie||TBD||Health and Safety Protocols|
|Jalen Harris||Out||Injury/Illness - Right Hip; Pointer|
|Rodney Hood||Probable||Injury/Illness - Right Hip; Flexor; strain|
|Kyle Lowry||Doubtful||Injury/Illness - Right Foot; Infection|
|Fred VanVleet||Out||Injury/Illness - Left Hip; Flexor; strain|
|Paul Watson||Out||Health and Safety Protocols|
Raptors vs. Cavaliers: Betting odds, spread, over/under
Spread: Raptors -3.5 (-110), Cavaliers +3.5 (-110)
Raptors Money line: -160
Cavaliers Money line: +140
Over/under: 219.0 (-110)
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.