Raptors-Cavaliers Preview

The banged-up Toronto Raptors have finally won back-to-back

games.

Extending that mini-run could be a challenge given their

struggles away from home.

The Raptors will try to avoid the franchise’s second 12-game

road losing streak on Tuesday night when they face the Cleveland

Cavaliers.

Andrea Bargnani (elbow) and Kyle Lowry (triceps) have missed the

last three games, but Toronto (6-19) has a chance to win three in a

row for the first time since April 1-4.

The Raptors are in that position after Jose Calderon posted his

second career triple-double – and second this season – with 18

points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s 103-96 victory over

Houston.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be on the court or not but I want

this team to win,” said Calderon, who has been starting with Lowry

sidelined.

Bargnani is out indefinitely and Lowry is likely to miss at

least a few more games, so Calderon should get another chance to

play big minutes.

Cleveland was short-handed when it last faced the Raptors,

playing without Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao when it visited

Canada on April 6. But the Cavaliers avoided a four-game sweep in

the season series with an 84-80 victory, snapping the Raptors’

longest winning streak of last season.

Toronto posted eight-point victories in both of its visits to

Cleveland in 2011-12 – and has won in three consecutive trips since

LeBron James left – but the team is winless on the road since Nov.

13 versus Indiana.

Another defeat would send the Raptors to their first 12-game

road skid since a franchise-record 14-game slide Jan. 7-March 16,

2011.

While Toronto has shown positive signs on the defensive end,

holding its last four opponents to 96 points or fewer, slowing down

Irving and rookie Dion Waiters, who is expected to return from an

eight-game injury absence, could be a tall task for Calderon and

DeMar DeRozan.

Irving, who is playing with a face mask after breaking a bone in

his face on Friday against Milwaukee, scored a career-best 41

points in Saturday’s 103-102 loss at New York.

The reigning rookie of the year poured in 17 fourth-quarter

points, but he passed the ball to Varejao on the team’s final play.

Varejao missed the second of two free throws with one second

remaining, sending Cleveland (5-20) to its third straight

defeat.

“There’s always temptation there (to shoot), but I have the

utmost trust in my teammates and you know Andy made a great play,

got to the free throw line and gave ourselves a chance to win,”

Irving said.

Waiters could give the Cavaliers another scoring option in these

late-game situations after missing time with a sprained left ankle,

and they need one considering they’re 1-7 in games decided by five

points or fewer.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games and we just gotta find a way

to win,” Waiters, who is averaging 15.2 points, said after Monday’s

practice.

Cavs coach Byron Scott wouldn’t say if Waiters will return to

the lineup considering how well C.J. Miles has played in his place.

Miles is averaging 22.5 points and has made 17 of 33 from 3-point

range since being inserted into the starting lineup four games

ago.

Forward Ed Davis has totaled 43 points – second to DeRozan’s 44

– with a team-best 26 boards while starting in place of Bargnani

the last three games.