Game Preview: Raptors vs Cavs
Toronto Raptors (19-4) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (4-17)
When: Saturday, Dec. 1st, 8 P.M. ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Leading into tonight’s game:
Injury Report: For the Raptors, Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation) is out. For the Cavaliers, the injury report is to be announced.
Bright lights: Toronto had its most-hyped game so far this season on Thursday night. With a nationally-televised TNT game, an influx of media present, and the Golden State Warriors in town, the Raptors prevailed in overtime, earning a 131-128 victory to move to 19-4 on the season. Kawhi Leonard scored a season-high 37 points and Pascal Siakam set another new career-high with 26 points. Toronto overcame a 51-point explosion from Kevin Durant in the win as six Raptors scored in double figures. The Cavaliers enter Saturday's game after a 128-95 road loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday.
Seven straight: Thursday’s overtime victory against the Golden State Warriors was Toronto’s seventh consecutive victory. This is the team’s longest winning streak of the year after three separate six-game winning streaks already this season. The win on Thursday was Toronto’s 12th in the month of November, a new franchise high for wins in November, a record previously set during the 2014-15 season. If the Raptors earn a win in Cleveland, it will be the fastest the franchise has ever reached 20 wins in a season.
Siakam continues to soar: A little over a month into the season, Pascal Siakam is on everyone’s radar league-wide. To label the jump he’s taken in year three as a breakout season would be an understatement. In Thursday’s game, Siakam scored a career-high 26 points in 43 minutes. He shot a ridiculous 8-for-10 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:05 of overtime to seal the victory for Toronto. For the season, Siakam is shooting 64 percent from the floor, fifth in the league. He's also shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc, including 43 percent for the month of November.
Let it fly: The Raptors lead the league in three-point shooting over their last five games, shooting 41.4 percent from deep. The team connected on a season-high 18 three-pointers in a victory against the Grizzlies, then followed that up with 15 made threes in Thursday’s win against the Warriors. Toronto had nine players make a three in a recent win against the Wizards, seven players do it in that game in Memphis, and seven again on Thursday. “They're an excellent team, very versatile,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after Thursday's game. “They've got a lot of guys who can put the ball on the floor and make threes. They're very good.”
Constant plus: Serge Ibaka was Toronto’s third player to reach 20 points in Thursday’s victory against the Warriors. He scored his20 points on 8-for-13 field goals to go with four rebounds and a blocked shot in 37 minutes. Most telling was that the Raptors were a +16 when Ibaka was on the floor. For the month of November, Ibaka has averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the floor.