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Irving-less Cavs aim to snap skid, visit Raptors

The Cleveland Cavaliers hope to stop a nine-game losing streak tonight north of the border, but it may be difficult since they have yet to defeat the Toronto Raptors this season.

The Cavaliers have lost all three meetings with Toronto in 2011-12 and haven't been swept in a season series since losing four meetings back in 2000-01 when Vince Carter was running the show for the Raptors.

Cleveland's current losing streak continued with Wednesday's 107-98 setback at Milwaukee, as Rookie of the Year candidate Kyrie Irving missed the game due to a sprained shoulder suffered in a loss to the Bucks on March 30. Irving has been sidelined two of the past three games and stayed behind in Cleveland to have an MRI. Irving will miss 7-10 days and re-injured the shoulder in a 125-90 loss versus San Antonio on Tuesday.

In the recent loss to the Bucks, Anthony Parker had 27 points and Antawn Jamison posted 17 and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, who are riding their longest losing streak since an NBA-worst 26-game losing slide from Dec. 20, 2010-Feb. 9, 2011.

"Beating them every quarter (after the first) was good for us," said Parker, who is averaging 15.7 points in his last three games. "There are no moral victories here in the NBA but after the last couple of games we've had it's a step in the right direction."

The Cavs have dropped five in a row on the road and are 8-17 outside of Quicken Loans Arena this season. They will finish the trek Sunday against the New Jersey Nets and are just 9-27 against teams from the East, dropping seven in a row against conference opponents.

Toronto will try to push their season high winning streak to four games and is coming off Wednesday's 99-78 victory at Philadelphia. Andrea Bargnani scored 24 points and DeMar DeRozan had 18 for the Raptors, who were fresh off a 3-2 homestand that ended with back-to-back wins over Washington and Charlotte.

"It was a more important game for them than for us, but we fight every night," said Toronto guard Jose Calderon.

Calderon added 12 points and 13 assists for the Raptors despite taking an elbow to the eye from Elton Brand in the second quarter. Toronto hasn't won four straight since Nov. 17-24, 2010 and is 11-17 as the host this season. It set a franchise record by holding the Sixers to 22 points in the second half.

The Raptors will visit Oklahoma City and Indiana after hosting the Cavs. They have won consecutive games to open the month of April for the first time since the 2002 campaign.