Toronto Raptors notch crucial statement win against the Cleveland Cavaliers
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Thursday, March 24, 2022
There are now nine games remaining for the rest of the season and every game matters for the Toronto Raptors. This was no exception, if anything it mattered more since the Cleveland Cavaliers are the team ahead of the Raptors clinging onto that highly coveted sixth seed. Toronto took care of business with a big-time 117-104 win over the Cavs. Gary Trent Jr. might've been out but OG Anunoby made his return to the lineup and looked great during his time on the court.
Toronto started this game a bit slow and it looked like Cleveland was going to keep control of this game. However, that wasn't the case at all as the Raptors turned things around and never looked back once they gained the advantage. The defense was once again the deciding factor, forcing the Cavs to 13 turnovers compared to Toronto's five.
It was a lineup that consisted of Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa, and Armoni Brooks that did major damage to the Cavs. Offensively Siakam was unstoppable. The former All-NBA player finished with 35 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Any time it seemed that Cleveland was going to go on a run, Siakam calmed things down with crucial buckets.
The bench had one of their best performances of the season primarily on just the impact they had on the game. Boucher was amazing once again with 17 points, eight rebounds, and three steals. Thaddeus Young gave great contributions, and although Armoni Brooks initially struggled with his jump shot, he was sensational defensively, including an insane chase-down block.
The Cavs were held at bay offensively other than Lauri Markennen who finished with 20 points on an efficient 6-10 shooting from the field. The Raptors did a great job at forcing the ball out of Darius Garland's hands and making the surrounding pieces beat them, which they were unable to do.
This was a must-win game for the Raptors as the season comes to a close. Toronto now improves to 41-32 on the season and is tied with Cleveland for the sixth seed. Due to the Cavaliers owning the tiebreaker, they currently still hold the sixth seed but things are looking very promising in Toronto's favour.
The Raptors will get ready for their next game against the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 on Saturday at home.