The Cleveland Cavaliers pay a visit to the Toronto Raptors on Monday in a game that carries a lot of worth. The Raptors have fallen two games out of the play-in tournament and will need a win here to keep pace with the surging Washington Wizards. The Cavs come in off a disappointing loss the prior evening to that DC team that has now won eight in a row overall.
The Cavs were without Collin Sexton (concussion) on Sunday, and it was clear just how much they missed him. As good as Darius Garland has been and continues to be, Sexton is the closer, and not having him really cost them the victory at the end of the day. The Raptors may have a hard time with Jarrett Allen, who comes in after scoring a career-high of 27 points.
Toronto took a tough road loss at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. They tried to make a comeback, but they could not stop the New York Knicks. They do have a chance to show up in Cleveland for the second straight time, though. Gary Trent Jr. was a flamethrower during the first meeting, pouring in 44 points and missing only two shots. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are healthy again, playing big minutes and leading the way.
The spread for Monday night in Tampa Bay is set at TOR -10.5. The over/under is 217.5 points.
Cleveland Seeking Road Win
At 21-39, the Cavs season is all but over at this point. At least they will get to actually play the final several weeks of games after being one of eight teams not selected for the bubble resumption last summer. By being able to have the final games, you can figure out some things with your rotation and give the rookies chances to prove their worth heading into next year.
Isaac Okoro should have been a little more comfortable on offense by now, but he’s still making a significant contribution nearly every single evening. And Garland/Sexton have both taken incredible jumps with their games. Both have made national headlines during their top performances, a Cavs fan’s dream.
Look for Jarrett Allen to try and work Khem Birch on the interior this evening.
Raptors Trying to Stay Relevant in Play-In
The play-in tournament will begin in a few weeks. As of now, the Raptors are tied with the Chicago Bulls for the 11th best record in the East. Any other year, and that would mean nothing. This time, it means they need to win a few games now and try to move into the 10th spot, so they can enter the round-robin style play-in tourney.
They have a strong roster at this point, having to finally figure out the center situation. Birch and Freddie Gillespie have both been very good for them, much stronger on the interior than Aron Baynes was. They have production at all five positions and just need consistency for 48 minutes to start pulling wins out of the hat.
Raptors Will Win a Close One
Make sure to go moneyline on this one for the Raptors. If you’re looking to bet on the point spread, the Cavs will fight to the end and will only lose by single digits.
Free Play: Cavs +10.5
Over/Under: Over 217.5
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