Previewing Friday night’s Cavaliers-Raptors game in Toronto…
THE SKINNY: Cavaliers (1-0) at Raptors (0-1), Air Canada Centre, 7 p.m. FSOhio has the broadcast with Fred McLeod and Campy Russell.
Article continues below ...
THE STARTERS: With Anderson Varejao back in Cleveland for his father’s surgery and Mo Williams on the trip but questionable, the Cavaliers will likely go with Ryan Hollins and J.J. Hickson up front, ex-Raptor Jamario Moon at small forward, ex-Raptor Anthony Parker at shooting guard and either Williams or Ramon Sessions at the point. The Raptors likely starters are Jarret Jackon and DeMar DeRozan at guard, Linas Kleiza and Reggie Evans at forward and Andrea Bargnani at center.
THE SCOOP: Look for an up-tempo game as the Cavaliers look to move forward from their huge season-opening win and the Raptors look to get in the win column. Six Cavaliers scored in double figures as the inspired Cavaliers used a big second half to hold off Boston; now, new coach Byron Scott is hopeful his team will turn in another solid defensive effort and get a boost from Williams, who’s still trying to get back to 100 percent from a groin injury.
Bargnani led the Raptors with 22 in their season-opening loss to the Knicks, while Jack got 16. Kleiza is back in the NBA after playing in Europe last season and brings needed 3-point shooting ability to a team that lacks muscle on the inside and needs all the perimeter scoring it can get. The Cavaliers will miss Varejao and need a big game from Hickson in trying to exploit that. Raptors first-round pick Ed Davis is out roughly six weeks after tearing his meniscus in the preseason.
THE SERIES: The Cavaliers lost the second game of last season in Toronto but won the following three against the Raptors; they lead the all-time series, 33-24. The teams don’t play again until January.
KEY NUMBER: 16. That’s how many points Daniel Gibson had in the opener after a scoreless first half. That’s also how many rebounds Evans had for the Raptors without scoring a point against the Knicks. Gibson and Sessions should have opportunities to score against a Raptors team that struggles defensively and lacks depth, though backup point guard Jose Calderon always seems to play well against Cleveland.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Cavaliers return home to host Sacramento Saturday night. The Kings (1-0) play in New Jersey tonight.