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Cavs Get Defensive, Earn Big Win over Raptors

RECAP

After an ugly third quarter, the Cavs pull away in the start of the fourth and take their 3rd win from Toronto this season. With a final score of 104-96, Cleveland opens up 3-game lead over Toronto for the 6th seed in the East. Cleveland shot 46%FG and had 26 second chance points. Raptors had 39% FG with 13 second chance points. Cavs take this huge home game win before their 3-game trip.

Lauri Markkanen leads the night in points with 22, 8-18FG, along with a season high of 12 rebounds and a block. Evan Mobley comes out with 20 points, 9-15FG, a career-high-tying 17 rebounds, 4 assist and 3 blocks. Darius Garland returns with 17 points, 5-12FG, game-high 10 assists, and 2 steals. Cedi Osman attributes 17 points, 7-16FG, 3 assists and 2 steals. Kevin Love puts up 15 points, 4-8FG, 3-5 3pt FG, 9 rebounds and 2 steals.

Full recap to come.

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

WRAP-UP

It’s been a while since the Cavaliers have played a game this meaningful this late in the season. And on Sunday, they did exactly what they needed to do to win it.

The game wasn’t always pretty, but the final results were beautiful – as the Wine and Gold held off the shorthanded Raptors, 104-96, on Sunday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, opening a full three-game lead over Toronto for the East’s 6th-seed and improving to 3-0 against their neighbors to the north this season.

Cleveland also got some much-needed positive mojo after dropping three straight and with a daunting three-game road trip on the horizon later this week.

The Wine and Gold led by as many as 14 points in the first half over a Raptors team playing without OG Anunoby and All-Star guard Fred VanVleet. But Toronto pulled even early in the second stanza and actually managed to outscore Cleveland after intermission.

But the Cavaliers defense was stingy where it needed to be – holding off Nick Nurse’s squad down the stretch and improving to 22-3 when holding an opponent under the century mark. Overall, Cleveland held the Raptors to 39 percent shooting, including 25 percent from long-range.

The Cavaliers – who lost Jarrett Allen to a left quad contusion in the first quarter – got big performances from their other two big men on Sunday night.

Lauri Markkanen led Cleveland with 22 points, going 8-for-18 from the floor to go with a season-high 12 rebounds in the win.

Evan Mobley was even better – chipping in with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, adding a career-best 17 boards to go with four assists and a game-high three blocks.

Darius Garland registered his second straight double-double – and 18th this season – following up his 19-assist effort on Friday night with 10 helpers in Sunday’s win, adding 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

Cedi Osman was rock-solid off the bench again, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting, including 3-of-9 from deep to go with three assists and a pair of steals. Kevin Love was also outstanding in his reserve role – adding 15 points and nine boards in the win, going 4-of-8 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

The Raptors, who handed out just four assists in the first half, were paced by Pascal Siakam’s game-high 24 points. Impressive rookie Scottie Barnes doubled-up with 19 points while also leading his squad in rebounds (12) and assists (6).

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

FEATURED HIGHLIGHT

Evan Mobley slams it down off bounce from Cedi Osman 3-point attempt in the 2nd quarter against the Toronto Raptors.

TURNING POINT

The Cavaliers shot an even 50 percent in the first half and led by as many as two TDs before intermission. But they came out flat to start the second half – with Toronto erupting for a 15-2 run to start the third quarter.

But the Cavaliers stopped the bleeding with a free throw and the Cavaliers didn’t allow a single Raptors field goal over the final 5:12 of the quarter, closing the period on an 11-1 run and taking a 73-62 edge into the fourth.

Cleveland’s late surge capped an ugly quarter in which both teams combined for just 30 points. The Cavs started the final quarter on a 7-2 run, giving them plenty of breathing room to seal the deal.

BY THE NUMBERS

17.2, .509, .417 … Cedi Osman’s scoring average – along with his shooting percentages from the floor and beyond the arc – over his last five games, tallying double-figures in four of them and topping the 20-point plateau twice.

Cedi drilled three triples on Sunday night and now just needs six more to become just the ninth player in Cavaliers franchise history to drain at least 500 three-pointers.

QUOTABLE

Lauri Markkanen, on Sunday’s defensive performance in the win over Toronto …

”We know about the standings and that kind of stuff, but I think it was more important (that it was) us being us and get the win. Especially defensively. We showed good signs against Philly, but didn’t get the win, so we felt like we needed to get this one to get back on track.”

CALLS OF THE GAME

Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.

UP NEXT

With Sunday’s victory over Toronto, the Wine and Gold hit the road for their longest remaining road trip of the season – a three-gamer beginning on Tuesday night in Indiana, taking on Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers.

From there, it’s a critical Eastern Conference back-to-back, traveling to South Beach for a Friday night meeting with the Heat followed by a Saturday night showdown with the Bulls in Chicago.

After the roadie, the Cavs play eight of their final 10 games in March at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.