Entering Monday night’s road game against the Toronto Raptors(26-35), the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-40) were missing many of their key players. Cleveland was without their leading scorer Collin Sexton(concussion), Larry Nance Jr.(right thumb fracture), Matthew Dellavedova(neck strain, eye), Isaiah Hartenstein(concussion), and Lamar Stevens(concussion).
In addition, the team was already missing Taurean Prince(ankle) and Dylan Windler(left knee surgery). With all of that working against them, and only nine player available, defeating the Raptors was going to be tough. However, Cleveland fought hard in this game and trailed 49-48 at halftime. They were in striking distance late in the third quarter, but things went awry.
After a Malachi Flynn layin put the Raptors up 76-70, a frustrated Kevin Love, who was inbounding the ball, just taps the ball in play, which led to a three by Flynn. Toronto would lead by nine after Flynn’s three. They would take control from there and defeat the Cavs 112-96.
Pascal Siakam had a game-high 25 points for Toronto, and OG Anunoby added 20.
Following his meltdown, Love, who, according to Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff apologized to the team, did not play the rest of the game.
“He had a lapse in judgment,” Bickerstaff said about Love after the game. “He’s been great for us from a leadership standpoint this whole year even through his difficulties, injuries he’s been battling, so we’ll leave it at that.”
There were some bright spots in this game for the Cavaliers. Rookie Isaac Okoro led Cleveland with a career-high 20 points, Jarrett Allen had 15 points, and Darius Garland, who struggled with his shot(5/13 FG), had 13 points and 10 assists.
There’s always frustration anytime you’re losing the way the Cavaliers are right now. Cleveland has lost three straight and 13 of their last 17 games, but you don’t expect a 12-year veteran, a champion, and one of the leaders of your team to have a temper tantrum in the middle of a close game. What Love did on Monday night was inexcusable, and it should be interesting to see how the Cavaliers handle this situation.
Cleveland will now return home for five straight, starting on Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic.
Listen below as Bickerstaff, Okoro, and Garland react to the team’s loss to the Raptors: