Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Records: Raptors (17-8), Cavaliers (6-20)
Where to Watch
Date: Dec. 16, 2019
Time: 7:30 ET
TV: Sportsnet (Canada), Fox Sports Ohio or NBA League Pass (USA)
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
For the first of two times this month, the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers will meet at Scotiabank Arena. Cleveland returns to Toronto on New Year's Eve.
After defeating the Nets on Saturday, the Raptors look to close out a three-game homestand on the right note. After starting out the season 15-4, Toronto has lost four of its last six. Still, the Raptors are just 1.5 games out of the East's No. 2 seed.
MORE: 10 thoughts on Raptors win over Nets
Working in Toronto's favour is that the team has taken care of business against lesser opponents so far this season, posting a flawless record of 13-0 against teams below .500 thus far. The Raptors will try to get a new win streak going as the 6-20 Cavaliers are the first of three straight opponents with losing records.
It is likely that Toronto will again be without Fred VanVleet, who has missed the team's last three games with a right knee contusion. Starting in his absence has been Norman Powell, who is averaging 21.3 points (on 57.1% shooting) over the Raptors' last three.
In the most recent win over Brooklyn, Powell finished with 25 points on 66.7% shooting. Pascal Siakam led the charge against the Nets with 30 points and 10 rebounds but shot just 10-for-26 from the field - he's shooting just 40.4% from the field and 29.6% from deep over the last five.
From an efficiency standpoint, can Siakam get back on track against Cleveland? He's averaging 26.5 points (on 49.4% shooting from the field and 41.6% from deep) and 9.0 rebounds per game against teams below .500 this season.
Perhaps the most encouraging performance from Saturday's win was that of Marc Gasol, who posted a double-double with season-highs in points (17) and rebounds (15). While numbers this gaudy aren't necessarily to be expected of Gasol, he appears to be improving upon his struggles earlier in the season.
MORE: Lowry, Powell praise Gasol's play
The visiting Cavaliers are coming off of a big loss at the hands of the Bucks, continuing a recent trend of losing to Eastern Conference opponents. Cleveland has now lost 13 straight to teams from the East, with its last win coming on Nov. 10.
Leading the way for Cleveland this season is second-year guard Collin Sexton, who is averaging 17.4 points per game this season; the 20-year-old is one of five Cavs to average in double figures this season.
Kevin Love is averaging 16.2 points and 10.8 rebounds, Jordan Clarkson is averaging 14.3 points, Tristan Thompson is averaging 13.1 points and 9.8 rebounds while rookie guard Darius Garland is averaging 10.7 points along with a team-high 2.9 assists per game.
The assists figure is perhaps the most glaring statistic, as the Cavaliers are 28th in the league with 21.0 assists per game. Conversely, the Raptors' 25.0 assists per game are tied for ninth-best in the NBA but they are averaging just 20.3 per game without VanVleet.
From a playmaking perspective, Kyle Lowry, Siakam and Gasol will be looked upon to step up as the Raptors look to make it 14-0 against teams with losing records.
A win Monday night could be a momentum-building win for Toronto while Cleveland looks to reverse recent misfortune to get back on track against conference foes.
Stanley Johnson (groin) - Out
Matt Thomas (finger) - Out
Fred VanVleet (knee) - Doubtful
Dylan Windler (leg) - Out
More updates to come…
- The Raptors have won three in a row at home over the Cavaliers
- In two games against Cleveland last year, Kyle Lowry averaged 20.5 points and 7.0 assists
- This game concludes a three-game homestand for the Raptors, while the Cavaliers are closing out a three-game road trip.
- Toronto is 10-3 at home this season; Cleveland is 3-10 on the road in 2019-20
- The Cavaliers have lost 13 straight games to Eastern Conference opponents
- Cavaliers forward Alfonzo McKinnie began his career with Toronto, appearing in 14 games with the Raptors in 2017-18; Raptors forward Patrick McCaw appeared in three games with Cleveland in 2018-19
- Cleveland centre Tristan Thompson is a native of Brampton, ON
Last Time They Played
Date: Mar. 11, 2019
Score: Cavaliers 126, Raptors 101
Cavaliers: Collin Sexton - 28 points (10-18 FG), 5 assists, 4 rebounds
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 25 points (11-19 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 assists