The Cleveland Cavaliers returned to action Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors, and both teams were depleted due to health and safety protocols.
Toronto(14-16) had ten players in health and safety protocols, including Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and Gary Trent Jr. Cleveland had six players in health and safety protocols, including Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, and Cedi Osman. In addition, they were without Isaac Okoro((return to competition reconditioning).
Cleveland(20-13) had six players in double figures and led by as many as 47 points against the Raptors. Ultimately, Cleveland would defeat Toronto 144-99. The Cavaliers had 118 points through the first three quarters, the most points after three quarters in team history.
Furthermore, the Cavaliers’ 45-point victory is their largest win in 30 years.
The Great for the Cavaliers:
Cavs’ Frontcourt: Cleveland got big-time contributions from their frontcourt. In his first start of the season, Kevin Love had 22 points, including a season-high six threes to go along with nine rebounds. Lauri Markkanen added 20 points and seven rebounds, and Dean Wade had 17 points and seven rebounds. The Cavs’ frontcourt scored a combined 59 points and grabbed 23 rebounds.
Cavs’ Backcourt: Darius Garland scored 11 of his 22 points in the third to go along with eight assists, and four rebounds. He scored 20-plus points for the third straight game, and Ricky Rubio added 16 points and six assists. The backcourt combined for 38 points and 14 assists.
With the Cavs being depleted due to health and safety protocols, Denzel Valentine got an extended run Sunday night, and he took full advantage of it. Valentine had season-highs in points(17) and threes(5) in 26 minutes of action.
Third Quarter: Cleveland had a 17-point lead at halftime but busted it wide open in the third by scoring 46 points, which tied their franchise record for most points in a quarter. The Cavaliers shot 62% from the floor, including nine threes. Cleveland went on a 15-0 run in the third to go up by 34 points. They led by as many as 40 points in the quarter as Cleveland took a 118-78 lead into the fourth.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
You score 144 points and win by 45 points, yeah, it’s all great for the Cavaliers.
This game came down to the Cavaliers having more healthy bodies. You could argue that Cleveland was playing the Toronto’s G League affiliate, Raptors 905. However, you play who’s on your schedule, and in reality, every team is dealing with COVID issues right now.
For any team, it’s just good to get a win.
“We’ve got a good thing going, and I’m having a lot of fun,” Love said. “It’s going to be great watching this young team develop.”
The Cavaliers return to action on the road against the Pelicans Tuesday night.
Best of the Rest:
-Yuta Watanabe led the Raptors with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Chris Boucher added 20 points and five rebounds.
Watch below as Markkanen and Garland talk win over Raptors: