Game Day: Raptors vs. Cavaliers

Last Time They Met: Raptors 96, Cavaliers 88

NBA.com Preview | Game Notes

Probable Starters

TOR – Jose Calderon (G), DeMar DeRozan (G), Alan Anderson (F), Andrea Bargnani (F), Aaron Gray (C)
CLE –
Donald Sloan (G), Anthony Parker (G), Alonzo Gee (F), Antawn Jamison (F), Tristan Thompson (C)

Key Injuries

TOR – Jerryd Bayless – (partially torn left oblique muscle) – out, Gary Forbes (sore left knee) – day-to-day
CLE Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture (non-displaced)) – out, Daniel Gibson (torn tendon-left foot/ankle) – out, Kyrie Irving (contused/sprained right shoulder) – out

What to keep an eye on as the Raptors try and extend their season-high win streak to four games against the Cavaliers (7:30 PM, TSN, FAN590).

“LeBron Ain’t Here”: That tongue-in-cheek answer from DeMar DeRozan when asked about the Raptors’ winning ways this season against the Cavaliers following a win in Cleveland on March 13th. In a condensed campaign where the Raps rarely face a team four times and have only beat two other teams at least twice (Knicks and Wizards), tonight presents a rare opportunity.

The last time the Raptors swept the season series against Cleveland was the 2000-01 season and they’ve only done it only three times overall.

Il Mago Heating Up: Matched up against a smaller Cavaliers frontline, Andrea Bargnani might find himself with another opportunity to extend his formidable play of late. Bargnani’s averaging 25 points on just over 50 per cent shooting from the field over his last five games and has led the team in scoring in each game of the team’s current three-game win streak.

As per NBA.com, he’s been even better at ACC in recent matchups against the Cavs; with averages of 25.8 points per game on 62.3 percent shooting in the last four meetings in Toronto.

An American Ninja At ACC?: James Johnson received a DNP-CD as a result of discipline for an internal incident on Wednesday in Philadelphia and there’s no indication yet on if he’ll be back tonight. Expect Dwane Casey to have more on the versatile forward at shootaround.

More From The 10-Days: The Raptors announced Friday that both Ben Uzoh and Alan Anderson are back in the fold as they received second 10-day contracts with the team. Anderson, in particular, was extremely solid on his first deal, culminating with a 13-point, four-rebound performance in a start against the Sixers on Wednesday.

A third NBA D-League call-up joins the team today in scoring guard Justin Dentmon, who comes from the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League and spent some time with the Spurs briefly earlier this season. With Jose Calderon (swollen right eye) and Gary Forbes (sore left knee) ruled out for tonight’s game, expect all three to see floor time tonight.

Awesome Start To April: Say what you will about the competition (including a Sixers team that looked absolutely gassed on the back end of a back-to-back on Wednesday), but the Raptors have been taking care of business on both sides of the ball to start this final month of the campaign.

First, the defence:

Season (20-35) April (3-0)
Opp. Points Per Game 95.1 85.7
Opp. FGM/Game 33.9 33.0
Opp. FG%/Game .438 .436
Def. Rating 102.1 100.6

Offensively, it’s been equally impressive.

Season (20-35)   April (3-0)
Points Per Game 91.9 96.7
FGM/Game 34.4 37.0
FG% .444 .483
Off. Rating 99.4 112.4

A small sample size, but something to keep an eye on as the Raptors aim to finish the season strong.

 

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