Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Cavaliers got back into the win column last time out and will try for consecutive victories Wednesday when they travel north to face the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Wednesday's matchup features the No. 2 and No. 4 teams in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto is only a half-game ahead of the Chicago Bulls and one game in front of the Cavs for second in the conference. Atlanta is almost out of reach for eastern supremacy.
After a tough loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday where LeBron James missed two free throws under five seconds to go in overtime, down one, the four-time MVP carried the Cavs in a 110-79 thrashing of the Boston Celtics in Cleveland on Tuesday.
James scored 27 points with five rebounds.
"We've been sound defensively," James said. "We also shared the ball and got the ball moving from side to side."
Kyrie Irving returned from a two-game absence and added 18 points for the Cavs, while Kevin Love and J.R. Smith gave 12 points apiece.
Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson and James Jones all had 10 in the lopsided win.
Cleveland finished the first quarter on a 24-7 spurt, and the lead grew to 25 following nine straight Cleveland points late in the first half. The Cavs ended any hope of a comeback early in the third quarter, when James capped an 11-0 burst with a layup that extended the lead to 76-42.
The Raptors snapped a five-game slide last time out with a 114-103 road victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
DeMar DeRozan had a season-high 35 points with nine rebounds and five assists to lead Toronto. Former Sixer Lou Williams netted 21 points off the bench for the Raptors, who snapped a season-high losing streak.
Patrick Patterson scored 15 off the bench, followed by 12 apiece from Greivis Vasquez and Terrence Ross. The four players who got off the Raptors' bench accounted for 54 points.
"I don't care who you are, it's hard to win in this league," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "I thought we had it tonight."
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry sat again on Monday due to lingering injuries. He should be back in uniform on Wednesday.
The Sixers never led in the second half, but pulled within one on three occasions. Ish Smith's driving layup got them within 69-68 with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter, but the Raptors answered with an 11-3 run and were never challenged again.
Ross jump-started and capped the surge with 3-pointers to stake Toronto to an 80-71 advantage. The Raptors took an 83-76 margin into the fourth and Philadelphia never trimmed the gap below seven in the final frame.
The Cavs won two of three meetings with the Raptors this season and the two teams have split the last eight encounters in Canada.