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Raptors use strong defense in 4th to beat Magic 93-86

22 March 2018

The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers meet Wednesday in National Basketball Association action at the Quicken Loans Arena.

The Toronto Raptors have been atop the standings for most of the 2017-2018 regular season, and now, have a five-game lead over the Boston Celtics in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. On Wednesday, due to some horrendous defense (and incredible shooting by Toronto), the Cavs found themselves trailing by 15 at the break after allowing the Raptors to roll up 79 points. The Raptors won by 34 back in January.

The Cleveland Cavaliers look for a statement victory here after splitting their last 10 games.

Cleveland followed the normal pattern of regression following an unfathomably hot quarter, scoring 22 points to head to the half with a still robust 64 points on a strong 60/66.7/90.9 shooting split. LeBron James is averaging 27.3 points and nine assists while Kevin Love is averaging 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds.

There has also been serious roster turnover as Cleveland traded Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Channing Frye, Jae Crowder and Iman Shumpert and added George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood in February.

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Triple-double James: The Cavs beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 on Monday, behind a monster 40-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist, two-steal, one-block performance from LeBron James. Aaron Gordon, returning after missing five games with a concussion, added 16 points. The Raptors are 2-6 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Cleveland, 1-3-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings and the home team is 3-1-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.

On the other side, James pointed to the Raptors' continuity, especially with the two key cogs in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan leading the way.

DeMar DeRozan said Tuesday that he is proud to have inspired Kevin Love to discuss his mental health issues, saying, "That was my whole intent of me speaking out". I don't trust the Cavaliers, and I certainly don't trust them against the better teams in this league.

Back-to-back: Wednesday's game against the Cavs will be the second in a back-to-back for the Raptors with both games being played on the road.

Raptors use strong defense in 4th to beat Magic 93-86