Raptors Come Up Short Against Motivated Cavaliers, 116-112

Dec 5, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) tries for a three point basket as Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) defends at Air Canada Centre. Cleveland won 116-112. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) tries for a three point basket as Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) defends at Air Canada Centre. Cleveland won 116-112. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors (14-7) tried to fight their way back, but the Cleveland Cavaliers (14-5) put the clamps on in the second half and held on for a 116-112 victory.


Thoughts and Observations

  • The Toronto Raptors never gave up in this game and they almost came back in the final minutes, but DeMar DeRozan‘s overturned three ball put the final nail in the Raptors’ coffin, as all the remaining energy in the Air Canada Centre was gone after that call.
  • LeBron James

    was doing “LeBron type” things on Monday night and the Raptors, like the rest of the NBA, simply had no answer for him. It didn’t matter what position LeBron played, or where he caught the ball, or who he was playing with, King James was determined to lead his Cavs past the Raptors.

    More from Tip of the Tower

    The Cavs continue to do a great job of forcing the Raptors to switch on defence. Whether it was LeBron or Kyrie handling the ball, the Cavs ability to create mismatches, or open looks, from pick-and-roll situations is near unstoppable at times.

    Leading up to the game, LeBron said the Cavs would not take Toronto lightly, and they certainly didn’t. The Cavs clearly view Toronto as their main competition in the Eastern Conference and they now treat them like that, which was evident through LeBron only taking two breathers on Monday.

  • The Cavs big three of LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love all had their moments against Toronto. To put in perspective just how good the Cavs’ big three were, the trio combined to score 86 of Cleveland’s 116 points. When these three are on the Cavs are too overwhelming for any team in the Eastern Conference.
  • Jonas Valanciunas shot an abysmal 1-for-8 from the field on Monday. The Cavs are not an ideal matchup for JV, in fact, they’re a nightmare matchup, but something looks off with JV. The team insists that he’s healthy, but, again, something looks off with him.
  • Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were sensational for the Raptors. Lowry did all he could to will the Raptors to a victory, while DeRozan relentlessly attacked the rim. This dynamic duo needs help, though. Who that third person might be is debatable, but there’s no question this team needs a third option.
  • The Cavs had no issue with leaving Pascal Siakam open, and I mean WIDE OPEN, during this game. Early in the game we saw the Cavs double team the primary ball handler, which was usually Lowry or DeRozan, and literally leave Siakam all by himself on the court. To Siakam’s credit, he hit a couple of open jumpshots, but it’s clear the Cavs have little regard for him when defending the Raptors’ halfcourt sets.
  • Couple takeaways from the box score: Cleveland dominated on the glass and outrebounded the Raptors 48-33; the Raptors only had seven turnovers, while the Cavs had 17; and the Raptors finished with 39 bench points.

    RBX (Raptors Bandwagon Exchange)

    • Buy: He only saw five minutes of action against the Cavs, so I’ll buy whatever stock I can in Norman Powell. He’s destined to take on a larger role with the Raptors and when he does games like this will quickly be a thing of the past.
    • Sell: The Cavs continue to be a brutal matchup for JV. Until he finds his role with this offence, I’ll sell some of my stock in Valanciunas. However, I do think he’ll improve as the season progresses, but anytime he is going up against the Cavs I’ll be selling. Again, the Cavs are an extremely difficult matchup for JV.

    Three Stars of the Night

    1. LeBron James: 34 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals. The King came, he saw, he conquered.
    2. Kevin Love: he was a thorn in the Raptors’ side on Monday, as he finished the game with 28 points, 14 rebounds and was 6-of-11 from behind the arc. In case you haven’t noticed, Love has very quietly put together a fantastic season with the Cavs.
    3. DeMar DeRozan: he led the Raptors in scoring with 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting. Lowry deserves a mention here as well as he finished the night with 24 points, nine assists and three rebounds, shaking off an early elbow to the face that forced him to take a shot of novocain.

    Statline of the Night


    The Cavaliers “big three” of LeBron, Kyrie and Love were near unstoppable on Monday. The trio combined to score 86 of the Cavs 116 points and also combined to make 10 of the Cavs 14 three pointers. They also ramped up their defence in the fourth quarter and showed why they are in a class of their own in the Eastern Conference.

    What’s Next

    The Raptors will close their six game homestand on Thursday when they welcome Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-14) to the Air Canada Centre. The T-Wolves have lost four of their last five games, but they’ve shown signs of improvement this season and have lost seven of their 14 games by seven points or less. Broadcasting note: this game will be nationally televised on TNT.

    Next: Why the Raptors Need to Start Patterson

    What did you think of the Raptors 116-112 loss to the Cavaliers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.