Cavaliers end skid with resounding 118-93 win over Toronto
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Entering Sunday evening's contest at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse the Cleveland Cavaliers (38-25, 25-7 home) had lost three straight and were blown out in their last loss on Friday night by the previously struggling Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta. Sunday's opponent was the Toronto Raptors (30-31, 11-18 road) who the Cavaliers were 0-3 this season against. Two of those games were in Toronto and the third loss was 118-107 at RMFH on December 23. The Cavaliers lead the all-time series 53-50 and 30-21 all-time at RMFH. On Sunday night the Cavs took no prisoners as they dominated the Raptors 118-93 to end their three game skid.

Early on it was a game of small runs as the Raptors took an 7-2 lead on a Jakob Poeltl jumper with 10:30 left in the first quarter. The Cavs answered with a 10-0 run over the next 3:23 to take a 12-7 lead with 7:06 left on the first quarter clock on a dunk by Jarrett Allen. Raptors floor boss Nick Nurse called a timeout to calm his troops. The Cavs extended their lead to 22-16 with 4:22 left when Donovan Mitchell hit a three point shot. The Cavs then took their first double digit lead of the game at 30-18 with 2:30 left in the first quarter on an Allen layup and a free throw. The Raptors cut the lead to 30-24 with consecutive three’s from Precious Achiuwa and Jeff Dowtin, Jr. with 1:11 left on the first quarter clock. The Cavs maintained the six point advantage as the quarter ended at 34-28. Darius Garland led all scorers in the game with 12. Allen also had 11 for Cleveland. Pascal Siakam led the way for the Raptors with 10 points. The Raptors owned the board outworking the Cavs on the glass 13-5. The Cavs shot 58% (11 for 19) while the Raptors shot 48% (11 for 23).

Cleveland pushed the lead back out to 12 points at 50-38 with 6:50 remaining in the first half when Allen took an assist from Caris LeVert and slammed it home. Once again Toronto was forced into a timeout to stop the Cavs momentum. Cleveland extended the lead even further to 14 at 59-45 with 2:53 left when Mitchell hit Evan Mobley in the corner and the big man from USC responded with a three. When the halftime buzzer sounded the Cavs led 64-52 playing much better defense than they did two nights ago against Atlanta when they gave up a season high 81 points in the first half. Mitchell led all scorers with 22 points. The Cavs had three players including Mitchell. Allen had 17 and Garland tallied 14 first half points. Siakam led the Raptors with 14 points. The battle of the boards was even in the second quarter with both teams having 12. The Raptors still had the edge in the half at 25-17. The Raptors turned the ball over and the Cavs took advantage scoring 11 points in the half. Cleveland only turned the ball over three times allowing Toronto to score two points.  

The Raptors came out firing in the third quarter cutting the Cavs lead to 64-57 just :44 into the period. Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff called a quick timeout. The Raptors trimmed the Cavs lead to 68-64 with 9:11 left in the third when Siakam drained a three pointer. Cleveland responded by scoring the next seven points capped off by a nice bounce pass from Garland to Mitchell then Mitchell deposited a three to extend the Cavs lead to 76-64 with 7:18 left on the clock. The Raptors took a timeout to regain their composure. With 6:50 left Mitchell picked up his fourth personal foul. It was challenged and upgraded as it was accessed that Mitchell intentional hit Poeltl in the groin area. Mitchell did not seem to be affected by this however as he scored the Cavs next six points, Isaac Okoro then scored the next five for Cleveland as they went on a 15-5 run after the flagrant was accessed building their lead to 91-71 with 3:51 left in the third quarter when Mitchell hit another three. The three-point basket was his eighth of the game to that point he now had 35 points. Meanwhile Allen picked up his 11th rebound with 22 points to record the double double. The Raptors O.G. Anunoby hit a three at the buzzer to cut the Cleveland lead to 92-76 at the end of 36 minutes. Mitchell continued to pace the scoring with 35. The Cavs now had four players including Mitchell in double figures. The other were Allen with 21, Garland with 16 and Mobley with 10. Siakam paced the Raptors with 22. The Cavs dominated the boards in the third quarter outworking the Raptors 18-9 to take 35-34 edge in the game heading to the final 12 minutes.

As the fourth quarter began Cleveland continued to build their lead pushing it to 24 when Evan Mobley hit a three courtesy of a nice pass from LeVert with 9:41 left on the clock giving the Cavs a 102-78 lead. With 8:47 left LeVert stole the ball from Chris Boucher, tossed it to Garland who took it the rest of the way to give the Cavs a commanding 105-78 lead causing Toronto to take a timeout to talk it over. Mobley went on his own scoring run and now had 18 points with 8:07 left in the game. Cleveland continued to pour it on with 6:51 left the took a 112-83 lead on a beautiful pass from Garland that Allen slammed home with both hands. Allen had 23 points. With 3:54 left and the Cavs up big Bickerstaff cleared the bench and Robin Lopez showed he had skills left as he made a nice spin move by the basket and finished it off giving the Cavs 114-86 lead. As the final second ran out there was a sigh of relief in the building as the Cavs redeemed themselves after the poor effort in Atlanta on Friday with a 118-93 win.

Mitchell led everyone in scoring in the game with 35 points all of which came in the first three quarters. Allen finished with 23 points and 11 boards. Garland and Mobley each had 18 points. Garland had a double double like Allen contributing 11 assist to go along with the 18 points. Mobley fell one rebound short of a double double finishing with nine boards. Siakam led the Raptors with 25 in a losing effort.

The Cavs as a team won the battle of the boards. After being pummeled by the Raptors on the boards 13-5 in the first quarter, the Cavs responded outrebounding Toronto 40-30 the rest of the way, to win the battle of the glass 45-43. The Cavs also had 30 assists in the game while Toronto managed only 19.

The Cavs will be in action next against the Celtics (44-17, 24-7 home) Boston on Wednesday night at 7:30 pm at the TD Garden. The Cavaliers have taken the first two meetings this season, both games were decided in overtime. The Celtics hold the all-time series lead 136-85 and the Cavs are 21-81 in Boston (Boston Garden, TD Garden). 
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​POSTED 02/26/2023 20:45
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Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell.                                     Photo by Tommy Shirer