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On Tuesday night, the Cavaliers played their final game of 2019. They’ll be glad to leave this one in the previous decade.
After a promising start, the shorthanded Raptors began pulling away in the second quarter, opening up a 16-point lead at the half and barely looking back, winning 117-97 on New Year’s Eve at Scotiabank Arena.
Despite being without three key pieces – Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell – the Raptors still canned 17 three-pointers, outrebounded the Cavaliers and blocked seven Cavalier offerings, including four by their starting point guard, Fred VanVleet.
The Cavaliers couldn’t get much going in the first stanza and had just two bench points at intermission. They found a rhythm in the second half, but it was too little, too late against the battle-tested Champs.
Six Cavaliers notched double-figures – led by Collin Sexton’s 22-point effort, going 8-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the stripe.
Tristan Thompson followed up with 14 points and 11 boards, going 5-of-6 from the floor. Kevin Love grabbed 11 boards of his own to go with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting, adding two assists and a pair of blocks.
Cedi Osman chipped in with 14 points, going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, adding four boards, four assists and a blocked shot.
Darius Garland rounded out the Cavs starters in double-figures with 12 points, going 5-of-11 from the floor with four assists. Fellow rookie, Kevin Porter Jr., did all his scoring after the break – tallying 13 points on 6-of-17 shooting to go with four boards, four assists and a steal.
Kyle Lowry led both squads with 24 points in the win, going 7-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Serge Ibaka doubled-up with 20 points and a team-high 10 boards.
Kevin Porter Jr. finds Tristan Thompson for the alley-oop off the inbound pass.
The Cavaliers went toe-to-toe with Toronto through the first period – one that featured 10 ties and five-lead changes. But things began slipping away in the second period.
Cleveland trailed, 27-25, heading into the quarter, but the Raptors opened with a 12-4 run to grab a double-digit edge.
Kevin Porter Jr.’s triple midway through the period got the Cavaliers to within four, 39-35, but that’s about as good as it would get for Cleveland on New Year’s Eve, with Toronto closing the first half on a 20-8 run – taking a 16-point lead into the locker room and essentially cruising home from there.
31 … combined double-doubles for Tristan Thompson (17) and Kevin Love (14) so far this season – each adding to their total in Tuesday night’s loss in Toronto.
For his career, Love has piled up 427 career double-doubles, including 171 as a Cavaliers. Tristan’s double-double on Tuesday night was also the 171st of his career.
Tristan Thompson, on his takeaways from the New Year’s Eve loss in Toronto …
"At the end of the day going into the new year, it’s bigger than basketball. You just want guys to finish out the year strong, finish out 2019 strong and be healthy."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
After closing out the calendar year on the road, the Wine & Gold settle in for the first week-and-half of 2020 – opening a four-game homestand with a visit from the Hornets on Thursday night.
From there, it’s a weekend back-to-back, with Chris Paul and the Thunder rolling in on Saturday followed by a visit from Andrew Wiggins and the Timberwolves on Sunday night. Cleveland closes out the homestand next Tuesday night with a visit from the Pistons before embarking on the longest junket of the season – a six-game, 11-day roadie.