Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors Preview
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors will meet on Monday for the third and final time this season. The two teams have split the first two contests, which means that the winner of this one gets to claim the season series as their own. Every team is playing their conference foes thrice on the year while going home-and-home with the teams in the opposite as usual.
The Cavs come in off a loss to the Wizards and will quickly try to shake it off. Brodric Thomas and Lamar Stevens got some first-half run for Cleveland and really didn’t look very good. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook had it out for them, while Daniel Gafford and Robin Lopez dominated on the interior. Russ only had 11 points and 11 assists, but it felt like he was really controlling the game and the Cavs guards.
Toronto has been struggling a lot in recent months. But they have picked up enough wins to be just two games out of the play-in spot. And they have one meeting with Washington left in early May, as they try to figure things out. That game will say a lot about them as a team and if they’re good enough to qualify. Anything can happen in the NBA, as it's shown to the viewers every night.
Cavs Seeking Win No. 22
The number 22 has been special to the Cavaliers organization since the late 1980’s when the team traded for Larry Nance. By the time his career there was over, and he had retired, Nance added a Sr. to his name, as Larry Jr. was born. The younger Nance was born in Cleveland and wound up playing for the Cavs.
The Cavs are hoping to pick up the “Nance” win, which they have not done in the past couple of seasons. The team has lost a lot more than expected after they came out 3-0 and began with some impressive wins, but this is still a pretty strong year. They acquired Jarrett Allen and have discovered that their ‘small’ backcourt can exist on the court together for long stretches.
Let’s see what these Cleveland players have in store tonight.
Raptors Looking for a Key Win
If the Raptors lose to the Cavs on Monday, they will not be a bunch of happy campers. This is a critical game, as all the rest that they play will be, too. This is a dangerous group now that everyone is healthy, added in with the trade deadline acquisitions. The signing of Khem Birch also fills a gaping hole that existed at the center spot all year long.
Yuta Watanabe has been making threes at a high clip. Gary Trent Jr. can go off anytime. And Freddie Gillespie is as athletic as any big in the league right now. Throw in Rodney Hood and some Malachi Flynn spot minutes, and the bench unit is strong. It was not the case against New York, but off days against scorching hot teams do tend to happen from time to time.
Can the Raps win a big one at home? We’ll soon find out.
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