NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Toronto 34 21 23 21 99
Cleveland 35 37 46 26 144
3:00 PM PT4:00 PM MT5:00 PM CT6:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)00:0018:00 ET5:00 PM CT21:00 , December 26, 2021
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio  Attendance: 19,432

Cavaliers, Raptors meet with COVID-depleted rosters

According to STATS
According to STATS

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. The Cavaliers triumphed in their first meeting with the Raptors this season, 102-101, despite trailing by as many as 15 points. That is still Cleveland's largest comeback win on the road this season and Toronto's largest blown-lead loss at home this season.
  2. The Raptors defeated the Warriors, 119-100, on December 18. Toronto is 5-2 this month with a 3-1 mark against teams who currently have a winning record. The Raptors went 2-7 in October and November against teams who currently have a winning record.
  3. With Toronto's top five scorers in COVID protocols, Chris Boucher, 7.4 points per game, is the Raptors' highest-scoring player this season available. Boucher has led Toronto in scoring just once this season (17 points against the Kings on December 13).
  4. The Cavaliers had their six-game win streak snapped with a 111-101 loss at Boston on Wednesday. Cleveland was 9-for-38 (23.7 percent) from beyond the arc in the loss, its second lowest three-point shooting performance of the season (15.0 on October 27).
  5. Darius Garland led the Cavaliers with 28 points against Boston, outscoring Cleveland's other starters by three points. Garland played a season-high 40:13 in the loss.
  6. The Raptors have played just one game since December 15, fewest in the NBA. The Cavaliers have played just three times over that span, which will be tied for the third fewest in the NBA by Sunday (if the Nets, two games since December 15, play on Saturday).

The Toronto Raptors, who have had three of their past four scheduled games postponed, will be going for their second straight win when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

The Raptors have not played since Dec. 18 when they defeated the depleted Golden State Warriors 119-100 at home.

Toronto had a home game against the Orlando Magic on Monday and a road game against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday postponed because of player shortages due to COVID-19. The home game against the Bulls on Dec. 16 also was postponed due to Chicago's COVID-19 issues.

The Cavaliers had their road game against the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 19 postponed because of COVID-19 before losing 111-101 to the host Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

The Cavaliers announced on Saturday that coach J.B. Bickerstaff was signed to an extension that reportedly runs through the 2026-27 season.

"J.B. Bickerstaff is, with all certainty, the right head coach to lead this franchise into what we believe is a very promising future," Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said in a team release.

"The decision to extend J.B. is not based solely on the early success of this season, but rather a body of work since his arrival to Cleveland. His leadership style, coaching experience and commitment to player development has instilled a growing confidence that resonates across our entire organization. We continue to see innovative and strategic examples of his impact on this roster, coupled by his unique ability to build upon a culture that leads to sustainable success."

Bickerstaff took over as head coach on Feb. 19, 2020, after John Beilein stepped down.

This season, he has led the Cavs to a 19-13 mark, the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers also signed forward Tre Scott to a 10-day contract under the league's hardship exception.

Scott becomes the third player signed to a 10-year deal in a 24-hour period, joining Justin Anderson and Luke Kornet. The Cavaliers had eight players in the league's health and safety protocols -- Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Lamar Stevens, Dylan Winder, Denzel Valentine, RJ Nembhard and Ed Davis.

Darius Garland continues to lead the Cavaliers, scoring 28 points and adding six assists at Boston. Garland praised the work of Tacko Fall, who had four points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots in 19 minutes.

"Tacko was great," Garland said. "Came in, blocked a lot of shots. He impacted the paint a lot. He came in and had a really good impact on the game, actually."

The Raptors signed forwards Juwan Morgan and D.J. Wilson and guard Tremont Waters to 10-day contracts this week, joining the team from the NBA G League through the COVID hardship exception.

"Even our staff meetings, we're doing them differently now too,' Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "Just again, we're doing less, we're doing a little more remote, very small groups, very big spaces, you know, all those things that we used to do we're doing again."

Among the Raptors in COVID-20 protocol this week were OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., Malachi Flynn, Precious Achiuwa and Dalano Banton.

The Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 102-101 in the first meeting between the teams Nov. 5 at Toronto. Garland made two free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining to end Toronto's five-game winning streak.

--Field Level Media

Updated December 25, 2021

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