Game 63: Cavs at Raptors
Air Canada Centre
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
1. The Cavaliers won the season series over the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, 3-1. The Cavaliers moved into a virtual tie with Toronto and Chicago in the Eastern Conference playoff race. All three teams are 10 1/2 games behind top-seeded Atlanta. The Cavaliers are technically still in the No. 4 spot by percentage points. They could move into the No. 2 spot by beating the Hawks on Friday.
2. It was almost an exhausting game to watch. The teams went back and forth, and combined for 74 points in the fourth quarter. The Raptors outscored the Cavs in the fourth, 38-36.
3. Forward LeBron James came on strong in the fourth with 15 of his game-high 29 points. He dished out 14 assists, which matched his season high. He shifted over to put the defensive clamps on Toronto guard Lou Williams in the late going. Williams had 21 of his 26 points in the fourth. It was the second time this season he's torched the Cavs. He had 36 points in the Raptors' 110-93 win on Nov. 22.
4. The Raptors played without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who has been rested in each of their last three games. He's been wearing down as the season progressed. He was replaced by unheralded Greivis Vasquez, who dished out 13 assists.
5. One of the most impressive things about the Raptors is their depth. They go about 10 deep with legitimate talent. Their backcourt of Lowry and All-Star DeMar DeRozan is also impressive. I've gone on record saying Golden State has the best backcourt in the league. I believe Toronto is right behind them. Lowry is one tough customer. He defends, gets to the basket and his perimeter shooting has improved leaps and bounds. DeRozan is long and athletic. He is a player who can actually guard LeBron James and make him work on defense. DeRozan was coming off a 35-point outing vs. Philadelphia on March 2. He had 25 against the Cavs on Wednesday. Despite Vasquez's good game, they still missed Lowry.
6. Cavs power forward Kevin Love said he had IVs after the Boston game. He thinks he might have had food poisoning. He was certainly ready to play against the Raptors with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He was 4 of 7 from behind the arc. He's such an important player for the Cavs. They love to space the floor with him, which draws the opposing team's power forward out of the post area. Love reached 8,000 points in his career in tonight's game.
7. The Cavs have won 20 of their last 24 games. This is going to be a difficult and trying week. They go to Atlanta on Friday and host Phoenix on Saturday.
8. The Cavs are 10-3 vs. the Atlantic Division this year.
9. Veteran James Jones is becoming a key part in the Cavs' rotation. He had a season-high 14 points. He was also 4 of 7 from behind the arc.
10. For the second consecutive game, all five starters scored in double figures.
UP NEXT: at Atlanta, Philips Arena, 7:30 p.m. Friday
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. James Johnson (6-9, 248)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Jonas Valanciunas (7-0, 270)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. DeMar DeRozan (6-7, 219)
Raptors - F Bruno Caboclo, G Kyle Lowry
Jason Phillips, Haywoode Workman, Sean Wright