National Basketball Association
Toronto at Cleveland
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
The Toronto Raptors are streaking toward the best record in the Eastern Conference as they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday for a late-season showdown. The Cavaliers are three-time defending conference champions but currently are in third place - 11 1/2 games behind Toronto.
Cleveland is more focused on getting into position to make a playoff run than it is about seeding, and it received a boost when All-Star forward Kevin Love (broken hand) returned from a 21-game absence to score 18 points over 25 minutes in Monday's 124-117 win over Milwaukee. "I felt pretty good," Love told reporters afterward. "Initially, that first wind is always tough, but even after that, I felt like my legs were underneath me and that I could've played a little bit more." Toronto has won a franchise-record nine consecutive road games after posting a 93-86 victory at Orlando on Tuesday. The Raptors had their franchise-record streak of 23 straight 100-point outings snapped but allowed just 10 in the fourth quarter of the gritty triumph.TV:
7 p.m. ET, ESPN, Sportsnet One (Toronto), FS Ohio (Cleveland)ABOUT THE RAPTORS (53-18):
All-Star DeMar DeRozan (thigh) sat out against Orlando but is expected back Wednesday as Toronto seeks its 20th victory in 22 games. Kyle Lowry, who became the first player in franchise history to make 200 3-pointers in 2015-16 (212), sank seven against the Magic to eclipse the mark for a second time (201). "Kyle is a smart player," coach Dwane Casey told reporters after Lowry (25 points) was among those who picked up the slack in DeRozan's absence. "And they found a way, they found something that worked for us. Offensively, it wasn't pretty, but we got it done."
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (41-29):
Interim coach Larry Drew is running the team with Tyronn Lue on leave as he deals with health issues, and he is hoping two more injured players will return on Wednesday. Tristan Thompson (ankle) and Rodney Hood (back) are listed as questionable as the former has missed the last eight games while the latter has sat out four of the last five, but Larry Nance Jr. (hamstring) will be sidelined for a fourth straight contest. All-Star LeBron James posted his fifth career 40-point triple-double by exploding for 40 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against the Bucks, giving him a career-best 16 triple-doubles this season.BUZZER BEATERS
1. The Raptors have won the last two meetings, including a 133-99 home romp on Jan. 11.
2. Cleveland swingman Kyle Korver was excused from Wednesday's game after his 27-year-old brother, Kirk, died on Tuesday due to a sudden illness.
3. Toronto backup PG Fred VanVleet (hand) is questionable after sitting out Tuesday.PREDICTION:
Cavaliers 106, Raptors 102
Stats and Records