Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/21/18
It is a measuring stick game for both the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers as two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference face off Wednesday night.
While the Raptors (53-18) maintained their five-game lead over the Boston Celtics for the Atlantic Division lead and top seed in the Eastern Conference, they fully understand the road to the NBA Finals still goes through LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the superstar looks to reach his eighth consecutive finals.
Toronto emerged with a 93-86 victory at Orlando on Tuesday night, holding the Magic without a basket for the first 7:30 of the fourth quarter while going on an 18-2 run. Kyle Lowry hit seven of 13 from 3-point range and finished with 25 points and eight assists as he picked up the slack while backcourt partner DeMar DeRozan sat out with a thigh bruise.
The Raptors, who have won 19 of their last 21 overall, got 46 points from their bench as Delon Wright and Norman Powell each scored ten points. Rookie OG Anunoby has struggled to find a rhythm in three games since missing eight with a sprained ankle, totaling nine points and five rebounds while attempting just seven shots.
Cleveland (41-29) are trying to fend off Indiana for the Central Division title and lead the Pacers by one-half game with 12 to play as they try to nail down the third seed. The Cavaliers all but ended Milwaukee’s division title hopes with a 124-117 victory Monday night as LeBron James posted his sixth triple-double in 13 games with 40 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists.
While everyone talks about James Harden being an MVP candidate, it almost feels like people are overlooking James’ everyday greatness as he vies for the award for the fifth time in his storied career but first since 2013. He has averaged 30.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 9.5 assists in his last 13 games while shooting 53.7 percent overall and 40.4 percent from 3-point range.
Larry Drew will guide the team indefinitely while Tyronn Lue deals with an undisclosed illness. Lue missed the second half of Saturday’s game against Chicago, the third game in which he has missed a part or all of the contest due to an illness.