Game Preview: Raptors vs. Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers (26-14) @ Toronto Raptors (28-11)
When: Thursday, January 11, 8 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: SN1, SN590
Toronto's last regular season meeting against the Cavaliers was the final game of the 2016-17 regular season. The Raptors earned a 98-83 road win in a contest that had both sides without some of their starters. The Cavaliers rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, while the Raptors were without DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka. Toronto used a 27-13 second quarter to build a 53-34 advantage at the halftime break. In the second half, it was all Toronto, as Cleveland shooto just 37 percent from the floor, playing without its best playmakers. Norman Powell led all scorers with 25 points while Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry added 13 points apiece. Iman Shumpert had 11 to lead the Cavs in the loss.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: For Toronto, Kyle Lowry is listed as questionable with a bruised tailbone. For Cleveland, Derrick Rose is out with a sprained left ankle and Iman Shumpert is out following left knee arthroscopic surgery.
Raps shorthanded: The NBA announced on Wednesday that Serge Ibaka will miss Thursday's game as he serves a one-game suspension for his role in a dust up with James Johnson in Toronto's loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
Start a new streak: After Tuesday's narrow 90-89 loss to the Heat, Toronto would like to start a new winning streak at home. Tuesday's loss was just the second home loss for the Raptors this season, moving the team to 14-2 on the Air Canada Centre floor. Prior to the game against the Heat, the Raptors had tied a franchise record for consecutive wins at home by winning 12 straight, despite playing the fewest home games in the league (16).
First meeting: This will be Toronto's first meeting with Cleveland since facing the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in May. The two teams met in the playoffs the previous season as well, in an Eastern Conference Finals showdown in 2016.
Hard fall: Kyle Lowry suffered a bruised tailbone in the overtime session of Toronto's 114-113 victory in Brooklyn on Monday. The injury occurred when Lowry crashed to the floor while attempting to grab an offensive rebound. X-rays were negative and the team said that he will be treated and reevaluated daily. Dwane Casey said that it was another example of Lowry "busting his butt" for the team, but also said they were thankful the injury wasn't worse.
Wright's way: Delon Wright started in place of Kyle Lowry on Tuesday. Though the Raptors didn't win the game, Wright played well stepping in for Toronto's floor leader. He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, shooting 5-for-9 from the floor, 1-for-2 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. In his previous five games, Wright is averaging 13.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and is shooting 58 percent from the floor.