Raptors ready patchwork lineup for Cavs rematch

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The Cleveland Cavaliers will face a different starting lineup when they visit the Toronto Raptors for the second time in 15 days Tuesday night.

When the Raptors defeated the Cavaliers 133-113 on Dec. 16, their starting lineup included Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell. All three are out indefinitely with injuries and will not face Cleveland this time.

Siakam scored 33 points and Powell had 26 in that game against Cleveland.

The Raptors are 3-3 without the trio after losing at home 98-97 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

The Cavaliers went on a season-high three-game winning streak after losing to the Raptors.

The game in Toronto ends a three-game road trip for the Cavaliers, who split the first two games, losing to the Boston Celtics before beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 94-88 on Saturday despite committing 28 turnovers that led to 27 points.

Cavaliers coach John Beilein said he had never won a game that way before. “Never. Ever. Ever,” he said.

“A win is a win,” forward Larry Nance Jr. said. “This one got a little bit ugly and we have to fix some things.”

Kevin Love did not play for the Cavaliers because of a right hip contusion.

“Our defense was everything to us (Saturday),” Beilein said. “If you look at the shooting stats, our contest rate was really high and we got there. They missed a lot of shots, but I think we made them miss a lot of shots. Offensively, there was nothing pretty on both sides, but some days you rely on your defense.”

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson, who is from Brampton, Ontario, recorded his 16th double-double of the season Saturday with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

“He was relentless,” Beilein said. “He was relentless in rebounding offensively and, particularly, defensively. Protected the rim, had a couple of verticalities and he was the heart and soul of our team in many ways.”

The Raptors have dropped three of their past four games, including consecutive games at home and are 8-7 in December.

The Raptors were limited to eight fastbreak points — including two in the second half — in the loss to the Thunder. The Raptors entered the game averaging an NBA-best 18.8 fastbreak points per game.

“Early on, I thought guys turned it over a little carelessly early, right when they checked in,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We kind of got that under control and I thought we had a lot of open shots in the first half we didn’t make, and I thought we had a lot of open shots in the second half we didn’t make, either. I thought we fought hard, so I am really proud of the guys for that.”

The Raptors were outscored 22-17 in the fourth quarter Sunday.

“Just didn’t execute down the stretch,” said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 20 points Sunday to share the team high with Fred VanVleet. “They made a couple of shots; we made a couple of turnovers. It was a tough game. We did a good job on some defensive possessions and the ball bounced their way.”

The Raptors won three of four from the Cavaliers last season.

–Field Level Media

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