GameDay Preview: Cavs at Raptors

Kyrie Irving
Ron Turenne/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold travel to Canada tonight to take on the Toronto Raptors at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (22-33) will seek their seventh straight victory after defeating the Orlando Magic 101-93 on Wednesday night at The Q.

During the current win streak, the Cavs are outscoring opponents 103.8 to 93.7 (+10.1). Cleveland is also shooting .404 (44-109) from beyond-the-arc and dishing out 23.5 assists.

Toronto (29-25) enters tonight's contest in the midst of a three-game home stand. The Raptors are 8-6 overall when playing on Friday night (3-2 record at home).

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Jarrett Jack, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Raptors: PG - Kyle Lowry, SG - DeMar DeRozen, SF - Terrance Ross
PF - Patrick Patterson, C - Jonas Valanciunas

Status Update: (Cavs) - Carrick Felix, (Left patellar Stress Fracture, Out), Anderson Varejao, (Sore Back, Out), Dion Waiters, (Left Knee Hyperextension, Out), C.J. Miles, (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)

(Raptors) - None to Report

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Tonight's game will be the first matchup between the two teams this season. The Cavs and Raptors split last season's series with each team winning on the other team's home floor.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 38-31 against the Raptors (20-14 Home, 18-17 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Defensive Intensity

Defensively, the Cavs have held foes to under 90 points in three of the six contests during their winning streak. This is due in large part to the Wine and Gold forcing their opponents into tough shots.

Cleveland has held their foes to a shooting percentage of .415, including .291 (37-127) from deep.

If the Cavaliers can come out with the same defensive intensity tonight, they will give themselves a good shot at extending their winning streak.

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

The Wine and Gold added depth to their frontcourt on Thursday when they acquired center Spencer Hawes from the Philadelphia 76ers. In 53 games (all starts) for Philadelphia, Hawes is averaging career-highs of 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists (most among all NBA centers) in 31.4 minutes per game.

Joining Hawes in the frontcourt will be Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller.

Thompson posted his fourth straight double-double (26th this season) with 16 points on 5-9 (.556) shooting, a game-high 14 rebounds (career-high 13 defensive) in 39 minutes. Over the past four games, Thompson is averaging 17.3 points on .591 (26-44) shooting, 13.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 32.5 minutes per game.

Zeller recorded 16 points on 4-5 (.800) shooting, including 8-9 (.889) from the free throw line, six rebounds, two assists and a season-high tying three blocks in 31 minutes. Zeller finished in double figures in points for the fifth time this season.

The Cavaliers frontcourt will be challenged by the Raptors Patrick Patterson and Jonas Valanciunas.

Patterson is averaging 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds in four games as a starter with Toronto.

Valanciunas is averaging 10.5 points to go along with 8.6 rebounds and the Raptors are 15-6 when he collects 10 or more rebounds this season.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 220

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head back to Cleveland on Sunday to take on the Washington Wizards at 6:00 p.m. ET.