Kyrie Irving as the next Batman?
Stop that man!Tonight we get to witness a battle of the bottom-feeders, as the Raptors(6-19) take on the Cleveland Cavaliers(5-20). The Raptors look to win three games in a row for the first time since early April of last season. It won't be a walk in the park for the Raps, as Kyrie Irving has been on fire so far in December, averaging 26 points a game(note, he's only played in four due to the broken index finger he suffered last month), including a 41 point effort in a 103-102 loss against the Knicks on Saturday. The match-up of Jose Calderon and Irving will be key. If Calderon plays his usual lackadaisical defence, and Irving is on like he was at MSG, we could see another 40 point night from Irving. He's averaged about 11 points on 23% in his career against the Raptors but that is unlikely to hold up forever.
Valanciunas going through the motionsAfter a promising start to his NBA career, Jonas Valanciunas has hit the metaphorical "rookie wall" as of late. He has only managed to score more than five points three times in December, after doing so eleven times in November. Although it probably isn't much to lose sleep over, one thing that is troubling is his lack of involvement on the offensive end. It seems that the guards on the team will sometimes just flat out ignore him when he's open, usually after he comes and attempts to set up the pick and roll. I don't know if it's just a coincidence, or maybe some of the players just aren't accustomed to having a big man like Jonas who can run this play, but something needs to be mended so he can get more looks. Regardless, his future in this league looks very bright.
Game notes of interest
- The Cavs are the NBA's second worst home team this season, only winning three of ten.
- Then again, the Raptors are the leagues WORST road team, taking a dismal one win in fifteen tries. That may or may not cancel out the above note..- Landry Fields will dress for the Raptors tonight for the first time in over a month. Fields had a nerve issue in his hand, which is apparently to blame for his .208% from the field. We'll see tonight if he's any better. At the very least, this means more Elaine Alden sightings at games.
- Dion Waiters is back for the Cavs tonight. The rookie of the year candidate has been incontinent with his scoring, but has managed to have some big games for the Cavaliers and can light it up from downtown.
Projected Starting Lineup
Toronto Raptors Cleveland Cavaliers
C- Jonas Valanciunas C- Anderson Varejao
PF- Ed Davis PF- Tristan Thompson
SF- Mickael Pietrus SF- Alonzo Gee
SG- Demar DeRozan SG- Dion Waiters
PG- Jose Calderon PG- Kyrie Irving