Kyrie Irving is returning to the site of one of his best nights of the season.
Frustrated by his 0-4 record against Toronto (24-39), Irving took matters into his own hands Jan. 26 as he capped a 32-point performance with a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left for a 99-98 victory.
"I wanted to get a win," Irving said after that contest. "It was personal for me. In a year and a half of being in the NBA, I hadn't gotten a win against Toronto."
Irving missed the Cavaliers' last matchup with the Raptors, a 103-92 victory Feb. 27 in which rookie Dion Waiters picked up the slack with 23 points.
That gave Cleveland (21-41) a 2-1 season series lead heading into this final 2012-13 meeting. It was the first time these teams played since the Raptors acquired forward Rudy Gay from Memphis on Jan. 30.
Cleveland had trouble slowing down Toronto on the perimeter last month, as DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points and Gay added 24.
"The team that came to (Cleveland) a couple weeks ago with Rudy Gay and their new additions, they spread the court a lot so guys are going to have to be ready to defend," said Cavs forward Tristan Thompson, an Ontario native. "They got DeMar, Rudy, that go 1-on-1 a lot, a lot of isolation plays, so we've got to be able to help each other."
Thompson could match up at times with fellow 6-foot-9 big man Amir Johnson, who's averaging 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 66.7 percent shooting in the season series for the Raptors.
Irving scored 24 in a 103-92 loss to the Grizzlies on Friday that capped a 2-3 homestand. He was listed as doubtful with flu-like symptoms, but said he was fine afterward.
Irving was more concerned about another poor third quarter as Cleveland was outscored 32-18. The Cavs have averaged 16.7 points and 29.3 percent shooting in the third quarters of their last three games, with Irving scoring 19 of their 50 points.
"I'm trying to figure it out," he said. "For me, I was trying to get everyone involved and there have been a few games where I've been really aggressive and am looking for my shot a little bit more. I'm trying to get everyone involved, especially in the third quarter."
Toronto returns home after a 118-116 overtime loss to the Lakers on Friday capped a 1-3 trip. The Raptors shot 74 percent in a 37-point first quarter, led most of the game and were up by as many as 15 before suffering their sixth defeat in seven.
"It was a tough loss for us, we definitely could have won the game," Johnson said.
DeRozan scored 28 points but Gay went 7 of 26 and finished with 17 points and six turnovers.
Oft-injured Andrea Bargnani left with a strained right elbow after scoring two points in nine minutes.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Toronto Raptors
- Kyrie Irving
- Rudy Gay