Cavs get back on track in win over Raptors

The Cleveland Cavaliers returned to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Sunday night to play a big game against the Toronto Raptors.

Coming into the game, the sixth-seeded Cavs were two games up on the seventh-seeded Raptors, so if the Cavs wanted to avoid the Play-In Tournament, this game was a must.

Cleveland led by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter, and the Cavs would defeat the Raptors 104-96.

The Cavs(37-27) snap their three-game losing streak with the win, while the Raptors(34-30) have lost three straight.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Raptors.

The Great for the Cavs:

-Evan Mobley showed out for a national TV audience Sunday night. Mobley had 20 points, a career-high-tying 17 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Jarrett Allen missed most of the game, and Mobley stepped up. This was Mobley’s 16th double-double of the season(tied for the most among rookies). Mobley and Toronto’s Scotty Barnes(19 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists) are both in the running for Rookie of the Year, and both played well Sunday night.

-Lauri Markkanen had a team-high 22 points, a season-high 12 rebounds, and a block against the Raptors. This was Markkanen’s second double-double of the season. Again, without Allen, Cleveland needed their bigs to stand up, and like Mobley, Markkanen stood up. 

-Darius Garland chipped in with his second straight double-double as he had 17 points and 10 assists. He also added three rebounds and two steals. 

-Second Quarter: Cleveland led 30-29 after one quarter, and they picked things up in the second quarter, mainly on the defensive end. They held the Raptors to 23%(5/22) shooting from the floor, including 0/5 from deep. Cleveland outscored Toronto 29-17 in the quarter and took a 59-46 lead at the break.

Defense: The Cavs brought that defensive intensity and energy Sunday night. Toronto had two quarters where they scored less than 20 points; they shot 39% from the field, including 6/25 from three-point range. In addition, the Cavs held a team below 100 points for the first time since February 26.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

-Jarrett Allen left the game in the first quarter with a left quad contusion. After the win, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Allen also suffered a fractured finger and is expected to be sidelined indefinitely. 

The All-Star was having a tremendous season, so Cleveland will miss what he brings to the table.

-Cleveland had 19 turnovers, which led to 20 points for Toronto. Garland had seven of the 19 turnovers.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland needed to win this game badly, and they got it done. They got back to who they were earlier in the season, and that’s playing well on defense, but unfortunately, they will have more adversity to overcome with Allen’s injury.

This season, Cleveland lost Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio for the season. Markkanen missed time with COVID and an ankle injury, Garland is battling a back injury, and Caris LeVert(foot) and Rajon Rondo(toe) are currently out, but to the Cavs’ credit, they still keep pushing.

Cleveland is now three games up on the Raptors and one game behind the fifth-seeded Celtics(39-27).

Again, as stated previously, the Cavs just need to worry about being one of the top six teams in the East.

What’s Next:

Cleveland begins a three-game road trip Tuesday night in Indiana against the Pacers.

Best of the Rest:

The Cavs had five players in double figures. Cedi Osman added 17 points, and Kevin Love poured in 15 points off the bench.

-Toronto’s Pascal Siakam had a game-high 24 points; Chris Boucher scored 21 points, and Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. had 19 points apiece.

According to Cavs Notes, since 1989-90 season, seven rookies had 20-plus points, 17-plus rebounds, and 3-plus blocks in a single game, including Mobley:

Dikembe Mutombo (11/2/91 and 11/26/91)

Tim Duncan (4/10/98 and 1/19/98)

Elton Brand (11/19/99)

Shaquille O’Neal (4/20/93)

David Robinson (2/3/90)

Chris Webber (3/1/94)

Mobley(Sunday night).

-Toronto was without Fred VanVleet(knee), who missed his fifth straight game, and Malachi Flynn(hamstring).

Watch below as Mobley reacts to big win over Raptors:

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