National Basketball Association
Toronto at Cleveland
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, November 22, 2014
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
The energy level will be high Saturday when the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors visit LeBron James and the struggling, conference-favorite Cleveland Cavaliers. After a first-round playoff exit last season, the Raptors have come back stronger than ever with a franchise-best 10-2 record to open the season. The Cavaliers enter on a three-game losing streak, with a struggling Kevin Love and a leaky defense among other concerns.
After grinding out a 96-92 win against Memphis on Wednesday and awaiting the Saturday night game, Toronto avoided a letdown against Milwaukee on Friday when it poured in a season-high 71 points in the first half while shooting 9-of-14 from beyond the arc in an eventual 124-83 victory. Cleveland lost 91-78 at Washington on Friday, as James scored 22 points on 21 shots and Love was held to season lows of eight points and eight shots.
TV: 7:30 p.m. FSN Ohio (Cleveland), TSN (Toronto)
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (10-2): Toronto plays five of its next seven games on the road after closing out the longest homestand in franchise history with six wins in seven games. Jonas Valanciunas had a season-high 18 points and 12 rebounds against the Bucks. "The mental focus was great," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "Nobody was even talking about tomorrow night. If we're going to be an elite team or grow to be an elite team in this league, we've got to make sure we care of business and take care of what's in front of us." Leading scorer DeMar DeRozan (20 points) is one of six players in the NBA who have averaged over eight free-throw attempts since the start of last season - a 35 percent increase over the 4.4 attempts in his first four years.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (5-6): While James and Kyrie Irving are both averaging over 20 points, Love has struggled in his new surroundings, averaging only 15.9 points and shooting 38.8 percent. He is taking five fewer shots per game than last season and his offensive rebounding average has dropped from a career average of 3.7 to just 1.8. The Cavaliers allow an average of 102 points, which is seven more than the Heat yielded during the James regime.
1. James has had to score 30 or more points in four of the five Cleveland wins this season.
2. Irving, who had made three or more 3-pointers in five straight games (18-of-31), went 0-for-6 against the Wizards.
3. Toronto is 44-2 when leading after three quarters dating to the start of last season.
PREDICTION: Raptors 99, Cavaliers 95
Stats and Records