(SportsNetwork.com) – The Toronto Raptors are the first Eastern Conference
team to 10 wins, but they’ll face a tough test Saturday night when they visit
LeBron James and the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Raptors have won three straight and eight of their last nine to cruise to
the top of the East standings. They just went 6-1 during a franchise-record
seven-game homestand, but hit the road for the first time since a Nov. 5
victory in Boston.
After gutting out a tough, four-point victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, one
of the other NBA teams with double-figure wins, on Wednesday, the Raptors
demolished the Milwaukee Bucks Friday.
Toronto closed out that residency with a 124-83 drubbing over a tired, young
Lou Williams scored 22 points off the bench to lead the Raptors on Friday.
Kyle Lowry supplied 20 points with nine rebounds and five assists and Jonas
Valanciunas deposited 18 points with 12 rebounds for the Raptors.
Toronto also won its fifth straight game over Milwaukee, which had its three-
game winning streak snapped with the setback. It was playing its third game in
“We didn’t do anything but travel yesterday, so I don’t think that was an
issue,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said.
The Raptors’ biggest lead was 52 points, which meant garbage-time minutes for
youngsters. Bruno Caboclo, the Raptors’ 20th overall selection in the 2014 NBA
Draft, entered early in the fourth quarter for his first career appearance.
Caboclo quickly made his presence felt as Williams lobbed a pass to the
Brazilian for an alley-oop slam.
“I had butterflies in my stomach,” said Caboclo. “Everybody saying my name was
He then nailed a 3-pointer on the following possession and finished with eight
The Cavaliers just can’t get anything going and have dropped three in a row,
including home losses to the Denver Nuggets and reigning NBA champion San
On Friday, the Cavs fell on the road, showing low energy in a 91-78 setback to
the Washington Wizards.
“That’s something that I cannot explain right now,” James said of the lack of
energy. “That’s something that we have to have. We have guys that come out no
matter what and have energy. Losing does not help it. It zaps the energy away
for us. We worried about the in game too much instead of going out and just
playing, competing and helping each other offensively and defensively.”
James and Kyrie Irving each deposited 22 points, Cleveland shot a subpar 36
percent as a team and committed 19 turnovers that led to 24 Washington points.
They only handed out 13 assists as a team.
The Cavs trailed 80-65 entering the fourth quarter, and any hopes of a
comeback were squashed by an awful offensive display over the final 12
minutes. Cleveland went a woeful 3-of-18 from the field and managed a mere 13
points for the frame, while never getting the deficit under double digits
until two Tristan Thompson free throws with 2:16 left cut the lead to 86-77.
James went just 2-of-8 after halftime, while Kevin Love didn’t score a point
in the second half after having eight prior to the break.
The Cavs, who had zero bench points at the half against Washington, and
finished with nine for the game, start a five-game homestand Saturday night.
They’ll host the Orlando Magic, stage a rematch with the Wizards, then welcome
the Indiana Pacers and Bucks on this stay.
The Raptors won two of three from the Cavaliers last season and are 7-4 in
their last 11 against the Cavs. Toronto has dropped two of three as the
visitor in this series, but are 5-2 in its last seven at the Q.