Cleveland at Toronto
Time: 6:30 PM CST
Spread: TOR -13
Odds c/o Bet Online
The Toronto Raptors are 17-8 and 10-3 at home where it hosts the struggling 6-20 Cleveland Cavaliers at 6:30 PM (CST) Monday night. The Raptors are 13-point favorites, and the over/under is set at 219.5 according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker Bet Online.
Toronto News & Notes:
The Toronto Raptors were expected to crash and burn after losing superstar Kawhi Leonard to its opponent tonight, but that has hardly happened. Toronto is 17-8 and has won two of its last three. The Raptors sport the leagues No. 15 offense, averaging 110.8 points per game while holding opponents to 105.4. Toronto has dominated the glass, averaging 46.5 rebounds per game, which is sixth-highest among NBA teams.
Much of the credit for Toronto sustaining its excellence after losing one of the game’s best two-way players in Leonard has to go to Pascal Siakam. His per-game averages are up across the board: 24.7 points per game, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.9 blocks/steals per game.
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry has been his usual good and consistent self, and perhaps what has really enabled Toronto to maintain—even more than Siakam’s emergence—is that Fred VanVleet is becoming an assassin now that he is in the starting lineup. VanVleet is averaging 18 points and seven assists per game. He has helped take off some of the playmaking pressure from Lowry, while essentially giving the Raptors a second starting point guard. It has worked well.
Serge Ibaka has been a consistent source offense and rebounding, while OG Anunoby is having a rebound year after a tough sophomore campaign a year ago. Anunoby is averaging 11 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while playing just under 30 minutes per night. The elephant in the room may be Marc Gasol, whose decline as a player is becoming more and more evident. He is only averaging 6.8 points and seven rebounds per game. He does function well as a high post passer, averaging 3.6 assists and helping as a secondary playmaker when Lowry seeks to score more.
The Raptors will tighten its rotation up to eight men likely by the postseason unless Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Patrick McCaw become bigger factors. Both have been something of a disappointment in the second unit, but with so many other things going right, the Raps are still an Eastern Conference contender of sorts, though its chances of repeating as champions are rather slim.
Cleveland News & Notes:
The Cleveland Cavaliers are just 6-20 on this season. Things have not gone well for Cleveland, but this was expected to be a tough rebuilding season for a team simply searching for its core and some continuity following LeBron James’ second departure from Cleveland two years ago, after bringing his home town a title.
Collin Sexton is developing nicely into the team’s top-scoring threat at 18 points per game, but he is not really showing many signs of being an actual point guard, particularly after mostly surrendering the role to rookie Darius Garland. Garland has done fair as a rookie point guard with 10 points and three assists per game, but to say the Cavs lack a developed playmaker is something of an understatement. Garland’s three assists per game lead the team, actually.
Kevin Love has done well as expected with 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, but there is really no one to carry this team considering that is the No. 2 option. Jordan Clarkson averages 14 per game but he shoots just 41 percent from the floor on his 11 attempts per game. The Cavaliers as a team are shooting just 43.6 percent and 31.8 percent from three-point range where it attempts 31.8 per game.
Adding all this to the fact that the Cavaliers average 14.5 turnovers per game, and it simply equates to a very poor basketball team.
It will vie for a top pick in the 2020 draft, but it will need a franchise cornerstone to start this rebuild off in a more meaningful way. Neither Sexton nor Garland appears to be that level of talent.