Cavaliers-Raptors pregame dribbles

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives on New Orleans Pelicans forward Tyreke Evans (1) during the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena.

Ken Blaze/Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Tipoff: Quicken Loans Arena, 7:30 p.m.

Records: Cavaliers 5-6; Raptors 10-2.

TV: FOX Sports Ohio (Cavaliers Live pre-game at 7). Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM; Cavaliers Radio Network.

Projected Starters

Raptors: C Jonas Valanciunas; PF Amir Johnson; SF Terrence Ross; SG DeMar DeRozan; PG Kyle Lowry.

Cavaliers: C Anderson Varejao; PF Kevin Love; SF LeBron James; SF Shawn Marion; PG Kyrie Irving.

Injury Report

Raptors: SF James Johnson (sprained ankle) out.

Cavaliers: PG Matthew Dellavedova (knee) out.

So far for LeBron & Co., the Cavs' struggles are real


1. I never thought I’d write this, but the Cavaliers can make things a whole lot better with a win over the Raptors.

2. And I never thought I’d write it because the Cavs were supposed to be the class of the East, and the Raptors chasing them.

3. Frankly, I still believe that will be the case when the regular season is said and done. Frankly, I still think the Cavs can win close to 60 games and be a top-two seed. And frankly, I still think they’ll get to the Finals. At some point, this is going to come together. And when it does, look out.

4. It’s funny (or maybe not-so-funny) how the Cavs have sort of played to the level of their competition so far. And just when you seem to have them figured out, they do the opposite. For instance, they won fairly easily at the Nuggets and at home against the Hawks. They had won four straight, only to lose to the Nuggets in Cleveland. It makes no sense.

5. Oh, and you can throw in the fact they lost the opener to the lousy Knicks at home then went on the road the next night and beat the Bulls.

6. So if all goes according to plan, the Cavs should win tonight. But so far with this team, what’s up is down and what’s down is sideways. Or something like that.

7. I don’t know what’s going on with the bench, either. I don’t think anyone does. In Friday’s loss to the Wizards, the Cavs’ reserves shot a miserable 3-of-16 from the field. Dion Waiters was 1-of-7. I thought the Cavs moved him there because he would provide scoring off the bench. I think they thought that, too. I fear the team is losing him.

8. Of course, "fear" is a strong word for this point of the season. It’s amazing how a few wins can make everything seem OK. The bottom line is its way better for the Cavs to get their bad stretch out of the way now — because at least now, it makes sense.

9. We knew chemistry could be a problem early. And guess what? It is. So why is everyone (fans, local media, national reporters) acting so shocked?