#CavsRaptors Game Preview - January 11, 2018

Air Canada Centre at 8:00 p.m. ET
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Summary

The Cavaliers (26-14) take on the Toronto Raptors (28-11) for an international showdown on Thursday night. Tipoff from the Air Canada Centre is at 8:00 p.m. (ET).

With the 2017-18 Cavs' campaign set to reach its midway point this Thursday, the Wine & Gold are not only looking to finish the first half of the season strong, but also aim to snag their second victory of their current five-game roadie.

One of the biggest highlights from the first half of this campaign includes the Cavaliers' early-season run, notching 19 wins in 20 games as well as a 13-game winning streak from November 11 to December 6.

An important factor to the Cavs' success has to be the bench, who are averaging a franchise-record 41.4 points this season (third-most in the NBA). In their most recent contest, a 127-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the reserves tallied 71 points against the Wolves, setting a new season high for bench scoring. It also marked the 27th game of the 2017-18 campaign in which the Cavs’ reserves have tallied 40 points or more.

Isaiah Thomas, who tipped off his career as a member of the Wine & Gold on January 2, is averaging 15.0 points and 3.3 assists in 19.7 minutes in three games.

LeBron James, doing what he does best, is currently third in the league in points per game (27.2), sitting only behind Houston's James Harden (32.3) and Milwaukee's Giannis Antetoukounmpo (28.7). James is also averaging a .558 field goal percentage to go along with 8.2 rebounds and 9.0 assists through 40 games.

While it's nice to look back on a teams' success thus far, the Cavs have plenty of challenges ahead. As they aim to round out the first half with a win, the Cavaliers will have to power though a tough Raptors team that currently owns the second slot in the Eastern Conference, just three games behind the conference-leading Boston Celtics.

Since November 25, Toronto has won 17 of their last 21 contests, averaging 113.3 points during that impressive run. While their success this season can be divided up all around, the Raptors lean on their dynamic duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to lead the way.

This season, DeRozan leads his team in ppg, averaging 25.3 as well as a .480 field goal percentage. Lowry, on the other hand, may not be posting the same excellent ppg numbers (16.2) as his counterpart, but is leading his team in other categories such as three-pointers made with 2.9 a game.

Toronto enters Thursday night's matchup with Cavs after dropping a close game with the Miami Heat on Tuesday by a score of 90-89. Despite the loss, DeRozan once again led his team in points with 25, notching four rebounds and six assists along the way.


Where to Catch the Action

TV: TNT

Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega

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


Probable Starters/Status Update*

#3 - Isaiah Thomas

#5 - JR Smith

#23 - LeBron James

#99 - Jae Crowder

#0 - Kevin Love

#55 - Delon Wright

#10 - DeMar DeRozan

#3 - OG Anunoby

#9 - Serge Ibaka

#17 - Jonas Valanciunas

Status Update: (Cavs) - Derrick Rose, (Left ankle sprain, Out), Iman Shumpert, (Left knee effusion, Out)

Status Update: (Raptors) - Kyle Lowry, (Bruised tailbone, Out)

*Subject to change.


Head-to-Head Matchup

Despite being an entire country away, the Cavs are pretty familiar with their northern neighbors, eh? The Cavs hold a 15-6 record against the Raptors (regular season and playoffs) since the start of the 2014-15 season, including a 3-1 series advantage over Toronto in the 2016-17 regular season and a 4-0 sweep of the Raptors in the 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

In last year’s playoff series, Cleveland outscored the Raptors by an average of 15.3 points (116.3-101.0) and outrebounded Toronto by 7.5 boards (43.0-35.5), while also averaging 23.3 assists (13.8 TOs) and shooting .497 from the field (.466 3FG%, 61-131).

From an individual perspective, LBJ has had the Raptors' number for years. In his three games versus Toronto during the 2016-17 regular season, James averaged 27.7 points on .509 (29-57) shooting from the field, 8.3 rebounds and 9.7 assists. In the 4-0 sweep against the Raptors in the 2017 Semifinals, he averaged 36.0 points on .573 (43-75) shooting. James also became the first player in NBA postseason history to score 35 or more points in every game of a four-game sweep.

Following Thursday night's showdown in The 6ix, the two teams square off two more times, both in The Land on March 21 and April 3.


On Deck

Once Thursday's contest with the Raptors wraps up, the Cavs head down to Indiana to battle the Pacers on Friday to finish up their longest current road trip of the season. The squad will then start their three-game homestand on Monday night with a rematch against the Golden State Warriors. Tipoff from The Q is at 8:00 p.m. (ET).

FIND SEATS | FULL SCHEDULE

#CavsRaptors Postgame: LeBron James - January 11, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.

Cavs at Raptors - January 11, 2018

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#CavsRaptors Postgame: LeBron James - January 11, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Jan 12, 2018  |  03:37

#CavsRaptors Postgame: Kevin Love - January 11, 2018

Cavaliers center Kevin Love spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Jan 12, 2018  |  04:08

#CavsRaptors Postgame: Isaiah Thomas - January 11, 2018

Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Jan 12, 2018  |  04:34

#CavsRaptors Postgame: Coach Lue - January 11, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Jan 11, 2018  |  03:13

LeBron James Scores 26 vs. Raptors

LeBron James scores 26 points with three rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal versus Toronto.
Jan 11, 2018  |  01:33

GAME RECAP: Raptors 133, Cavaliers 99

Fred VanVleet scores 22 points, Jonas Valanciunas puts in 15 points and 18 rebounds as the Raptors take Cleveland 133-99.
Jan 11, 2018  |  02:00

LBJ Takes it Strong to the Tin

LeBron James blows past the Raptors defense and glides to the bucket for the layup.
Jan 11, 2018  |  00:09

Dwyane Wade with the Baseline Slam

Cedi Osman finds a cutting Dwayne Wade who deposits the baseline dunk.
Jan 11, 2018  |  00:09

LBJ Muscles Home the And-One

LeBron James takes the outlet pass and finishes through contact for the and-one opportunity in this Goodyear 'More Driven' highlight.
Jan 11, 2018  |  00:24

Featured Highlight: I.T. Dimes TT

Isaiah Thomas attacks the defense in transition and drops it off to Tristan Thompson for the fastbreak flush.
Jan 11, 2018  |  00:10

KLove with the Pretty Outlet to LBJ

Kevin Love snatches the rebound and whips the long outlet pass to LeBron James for the easy layup.
Jan 11, 2018  |  00:11

#CavsRaptors Shootaround: LeBron James - January 11, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media prior to Thursday's shootaround at Air Canada Centre.
Jan 11, 2018  |  06:58

#CavsRaptors Shootaround: Coach Lue - January 11, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media prior to Thursday's shootaround at Air Canada Centre.
Jan 11, 2018  |  03:12

Cavs.com 1-on-1 with Tristan Thompson

Cavs.com's Fred McLeod sat down with Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson to talk about playing in his hometown of Toronto.
Jan 10, 2018  |  04:31

#CavsRaptors Practice: Isaiah Thomas - January 10, 2018

Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Jan 10, 2018  |  04:46

#CavsRaptors Practice: Jae Crowder - January 10, 2018

Cavaliers forward Jae Crowder spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Jan 10, 2018  |  04:36

#CavsRaptors Practice: Coach Lue - January 10, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Wednesday's practice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Jan 10, 2018  |  05:26