KeyBank Keys to the Game: Cavs at Raptors


The Wine & Gold round out their three-game trip on Monday night north of the border, looking to sweep the back-to-back and avenge an opening night loss in the process.

On Sunday night in Motown, the Cavaliers got back in the win column after having their four-game win streak snapped on Friday night in Milwaukee. Donovan Mitchell led the way offensively while Darius Garland and Evan Mobley each doubled-up in the win. Playing without Jarrett Allen, who suffered a hip injury against the Bucks, Cleveland overcame a sluggish shooting night, doing most of their damage at the stripe and blowing things open late with a surge in the final five minutes.

The Raptors have been dealing with a rash of injuries, themselves, although they might be getting some of their starters back for Monday’s matchup. Toronto is coming off a big home win over the Mavericks on Saturday night, with OG Anunoby leading the way late to snap a two-game slide. With the win, Toronto improved to 5-5 without Pascal Siakam – who, like Scottie Barnes, could return to the lineup on Monday night. 

The Cavs dropped their season opener here in Toronto back on October 19, with Darius Garland leaving with an eye injury in the second quarter and Toronto rallying back to pull away late for the win. Cleveland welcomes the Raptors to town in the last game before Christmas and again for the final game of February.


Now in his 6th season out of Indiana, OG Anunoby has simply gotten better every season, and his 18.9ppg average this year is career-best as he’s been asked to carry more weight – especially with Toronto’s recent spate of injuries.

Anunoby has already posted five 20-point games this year and went off for 32 points and 10 boards in a recent home win over Miami. In Saturday’s win, he played the entire second half, guarding Luka Doncic that whole time and finished with 26 points to match Fred VanVleet for the team lead. 

The native Londoner and the NBA’s current steals leader (2.42spg) has also picked up steam against Cleveland over the course of his career, netting double-figure scoring in each of the last six meetings, averaging 17.8 points per over that stretch. 

Although he played just four total minutes, Robin Lopez started in the middle last night for Cleveland, officially moving Evan Mobley over to the 3 against Detroit. And the lithe sophomore came up big again. 

Mobley finished with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, adding a game-best 13 boards – six off the offensive glass. The former No. 3 overall pick had drained just two triples on the season coming into Sunday’s game, but he drilled a pair in the win – including a bomb with just under five minutes to play, keying Cleveland’s 12-4 final flurry to cap the victory.


Like many of the Raptors, Fred VanVleet has been in and out of the lineup of late – although he returned from an illness to have a big night in Saturday’s win, netting 26 points, seven assists and six boards. 

VanVleet comes into tonight’s contest averaging 19.1ppg on the season, with a pair of 30-point outings already in the books. But the Cavs have always managed to keep the former Wichita State star in check, averaging just 13.4ppg on 33 percent shooting over the last seven meetings. 

His backcourt mate, Gary Trent Jr., is having another solid season as well, averaging 16.3ppg – although he struggled in his last outing against Dallas. Trent has had some good nights against Cleveland – and one monster night: going off for 44 points on 17-of-19 shooting, including 7-of-9 from deep in a 20-point Raptors win. 

It should be a good matchup for Cleveland’s backcourt – which comes in even hotter. 

Darius Garland is averaging a career-best 23.3ppg on the season, including 28.6ppg over his last eight outings. His 19-point effort in Sunday’s win was the first time he’d scored less than 20 since Nov. 11.

Donovan Mitchell has been outstanding all year – posting his 11th 30-point game in 18 games as a Cavalier – leading both teams with 32 points, going 12-of-13 from the line, adding five boards and a steal. At 30.1ppg, the three-time All-Star is the East’s third-leading scorer, trailing only Giannis and Jayson Tatum.