Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Records: Raptors (22-11), Cavaliers (10-22)
Where to Watch
Date: Dec. 31, 2019
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN (Canada), Fox Sports Ohio or NBA League Pass (USA)
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
The Toronto Raptors take the floor one final time this year - and decade - on Tuesday as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in the month of December.
Toronto looks to bounce back from a one-point home loss to OKC on Sunday, a hard-fought game in which the team failed to make a play or two down the stretch. Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry led the way for the Raptors on Sunday, as each guard finished with a team-high 20 points on a combined 13-for-31 (41.9%) shooting.
EIGHT THOUGHTS: Raptors fall to the Thunder by one
On the interior, Serge Ibaka recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds while Chris Boucher came off the bench to record nine points and five rebounds.
It was a valiant effort from the short-handed Raps on the second end of a back-to-back, as they are still missing the contributions of key players.
As the Cavs make their final visit of the year, the Raptors will still be without Marc Gasol, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam in addition to Dewan Hernandez and Matt Thomas. Though the rotation will again be slim, Toronto still has an opportunity to get back on track with Cleveland in town.
Heading into the new year, the Raptors are one of just three teams in the NBA (Bucks, Lakers) with a flawless record against teams with losing records. Toronto is 17-0 against teams with records below .500 and Cleveland enters with a record of 10-22 (.313).
The Cavs have been playing much better basketball lately, though.
After losing to Toronto on Dec. 16, Cleveland has won four of its last five games, with the lone loss coming in Boston. The Cavs got right back on track as they're coming off of a six-point road win over the Timberwolves on Saturday fuelled by the young backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
Sexton and Garland each scored 18 points apiece to pace the Cavalier offence and Sexton added seven boards. Canadian Tristan Thompson held it down on the glass as well as he recorded a double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds.
For the game, Cleveland outrebounded Minnesota 60-40, something a bit uncharacteristic for a team nearing the bottom-10 in rebounding (44.5 rpg). The Cavs are 9-5 this season when outrebounding their opponent and 1-17 when they're outrebounded.
The battle of the boards is capable of swinging this came.
With the momentum of their recent play, the Cavs are not a team the Raptors can afford to overlook. Can Cleveland keep it up? Or will Toronto close out 2019 on a good note?
- Marc Gasol (hamstring) - Out
- Dewan Hernandez (ankle) - Out
- Norman Powell (shoulder) - Out
- Pascal Siakam (groin) - Out
- Matt Thomas (finger) - Out
- Dylan Windler (leg) - Out
- The Raptors have won four in a row at home over the Cavaliers
- Kyle Lowry is averaging 20.3 points and 8.3 assists over his last three games vs. Cleveland.
- Toronto is 13-5 at home this season while Cleveland is 4-12 on the road
- The Raptors (22-11) are 16-0 against teams with records below .500; the Cavaliers (10-22) are 1-17 against teams with winning records.
- Cleveland centre Tristan Thompson is a native of Brampton, ON
- 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
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 16, 2019
Score: Raptors 133, Cavaliers 113
Raptors: Pascal Siakam - 33 points (13-24 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists
Cavaliers: Collin Sexton - 25 points (10-16 FG), 5 rebounds, 4 assists