Toronto Raptors give Cavaliers a taste of their own medicine

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 03: DeMar DeRozan /

The Toronto Raptors did not mess around with the Cleveland Cavaliers in town with one of their biggest wins in recent memory.

The Toronto Raptors got their opportunity to shine in the spotlight and well, they did not disappoint beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 133-99.

After a crushing loss to the Miami Heat, it was tough to know what they were going to do with LeBron James and the Cavaliers in town. To top it off, this was the only game that would be on a national network in the U.S., and it was the Raptors who gave Cleveland a taste of their own medicine.

With Serge Ibaka missing the game because of a suspension and Kyle Lowry out with the bone bruise on his tailbone the Raptors were going to need a group of players to step up.

Like they have done all season, the youth of the Raptors came ready to play and it was a collective dominance. There was never a point in the game where the young players looked overwhelmed, instead it was the exact opposite.

Fred VanVleet continues to turn heads after notching a career high of 22 points with six three’s, four rebounds and four assists. Jonas Valanciunas was a monster in the paint with 18 rebounds (12 defensive, six offensive) and 15 points.

Pascal Siakam had 16 points, Jakob Poeltl had 12 and C.J. Miles had 16 in 19 minutes. Even Norman Powell had an encouraging performance with 14 points, six rebounds in 27 minutes.

Despite all of this DeMar DeRozan managed only 13 points but he led all players with eights assists. It shows that this team is embracing the new style of play that has brought them a lot of success so far this season.

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Sometimes, the Raptors have shown that they can get off to strong starts against a team like Cleveland but there have been times where they let the foot off the gas and the game gets away from them. This was not one of those times.

With only two losses at the Air Canada Centre this season, the Raptors are establishing a dominance that can make them a dangerous team if they can secure home court advantage.

James did record a game high 26 points in the losing effort and history has shown that his team will recover once the playoffs come around. The difference now is whether other teams in the East have caught up to them?

This game certainly shows that the Raptors are making strides but time will only tell whether they can continue this.

The real test will come when the Golden State Warriors arrive on Saturday, their high-flying offence has proven to be too tough to slow down this season. If the Raptors can establish their own rhythm early and show intensity on the defensive side of the ball  they will have a chance.

The younger players will need to remain consistent for that to happen especially if Lowry remains out.

Next: Raptors have to beat NBA’s best to silence doubters

How satisfying was that victory over the Cavaliers considering the rough past against them and what do you think about their chances against the Warriors? Let us know in the comments below.