This is going to be a real test for the Cavaliers. The Raptors are talented, united and have been together for some time now.
They’ve also bombed two straight years in the first round of the playoffs — and are on a mission to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
For the Raptors, the Cavs are a good place to find out where they stand.
Losing to the Cavs at home will show the Raptors they have a little ways to go still. They don’t want to lose to the Cavs at home. They want to feel all high and mighty by knocking off LeBron James and friends.
Of course, even with James and Kevin Love healthy, this still really is a version of Cavs Lite. People tend to forget that, considering the Cavs enter the night with an 11-3 record, the best in the East.
A lot of that has to do with the fact the Cavs have moved the ball, cut to the basket, posted up and as Love has said, taken not just good shots, but the best possible shots.
Hence, a three-game winning streak.
But this is a very tough team on the road, and this is a different story. The Raptors (9-6) boast one of the league’s best backcourts in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan — as well old friend/rival DeMarre Carroll, their new small forward who soared north from the Hawks.
On the bright side for the Cavs, coach David Blatt said Mo Williams will return for Wednesday’s game. Williams missed the previous two with inflammation in his right ankle. On the potential downside, Matthew Dellavedova is a game-time decision with tightness in his left calf.
The Raptors have an injury issue of their own, with starting center Jonas Valanciunas out with a broken hand.
Either way, the Raptors want to feel good about themselves and they know that beating the Cavs is a great way to do it.
So the Cavs are on the road facing a very good and motivated team. They will likely have to keep doing what they’ve been doing – and do it even better and for longer stretches.
TIPOFF: Air Canada Centre, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio.
Cavaliers (11-3): C Tristan Thompson; PF Kevin Love; SF LeBron James; SG J.R. Smith; PG J.R. Smith.
Raptors (9-6): C Bismack Biyombo; PF Luis Scola; SF DeMarre Carroll; SG DeMar DeRozan; PG Kyle Lowry.
Cavaliers: PG Matthew Dellavedova (calf) questionable; C Timofey Mozgov (shoulder) out; PG Kyrie Irving (knee) out; SG Iman Shumpert (wrist) out.
Raptors: C Jonas Valanciunas (hand) out.