Without question, the Raptors are a much better team since the trade for Rudy Gay. Not only is a Gay a proven slasher and scorer, he’s an underrated guy when it comes to coming through in the clutch. So Cavs forward Alonzo Gee will have his defensive work cut out for him once again. As an important aside, Kyrie Irving will miss his second straight game with a sore/hyperextended right knee.
Venue: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland.
TV/Radio: 6:30 p.m. EST, FOX Sports Ohio/WTAM
All-Time Series: Cavaliers lead, 37-30.
TORONTO RAPTORS (23-34) C Jonas Valanciunas PF Amir Johnson SF Rudy Gay SG DeMar DeRozen PG Kyle Lowry
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (19-38) C Tyler Zeller PF Tristan Thompson SF Alonzo Gee SG Dion Waiters PG Shaun Livingston
• The Raptors have won three straight on the road, and are 7-4 in February.
• They’re doing it mostly with defense, holding opponents to less than 100 points in eight of their last nine games.
• Johnson is one the league’s most underrated players, a distinguished garbage man who does the dirty work around the rim. He’s averaging 12.4 points and 9.0 rebounds since becoming the starter Jan. 6.
• Along with Gay, DeRozen and Johnson, keep an eye out for reserve swingman Alan Anderson. He may only score four points (as he did in each of the past two games), but he’s capable of erupting for 26 (as he did Feb. 13 vs. New York).
• Daniel Gibson returns for the Cavs after missing the last three games because of personal reasons. Doubtful he’ll play, however, as he hasn’t practiced lately, either.
• The Cavs are 4-13 in second games of a back-to-back. They won Tuesday at Chicago.