The schedule does not get easier for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they conclude a three-game road trip Monday night against the Toronto Raptors.
The Cavaliers lost 125-108 Saturday to the surging Milwaukee Bucks, who won their 18th straight game.
Next they face the defending NBA champion Raptors, who returned to form with a 110-102 home win against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.
The Cavaliers started the trip with a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
They were tied with the Bucks at 37 in the second quarter Saturday with rookie point guard Darius Garland leading the way, but they couldn’t keep up. Garland finished with 10 points and five assists.
“That one span in the first half was really beautiful where it was tied and (Garland) was really leading that group that was out there, getting two feet in the lane and really played well — confident with his shot,” Cavaliers coach John Beilein said. “Then it went south so quickly in that quarter, but kept fighting. Seventeen-point loss or whatever it was, I think we’re better than that, but they’re really good.”
Rookie Kevin Porter Jr. led Cleveland in scoring with 15 points off the bench. Jordan Clarkson added 13 points, and Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson each had 12.
Cleveland committed 18 turnovers leading to 21 Milwaukee points.
“Our turnovers are killing us too right now,” Beilein said. “There’s not too many coaches that have defense for turnovers. Very hard to defend after that.”
The Cavaliers face a Raptors team that knows how to force turnovers with aggressive defense. Toronto scored 29 points off 20 Brooklyn turnovers Saturday.
“We were really flying around and so that was great to see, and I don’t think I have seen that for a while,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “I have to check the second half a little bit, film-wise, to get a better read for it, but certainly (there) was great energy and great team defense in the first half.”
Pascal Siakam also regained his scoring touch after a five-game struggle by scoring 30 points — 14 in the first quarter. He was 3 for 5 from 3-point range and added 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks.
“Our energy was where we want it to be,” Siakam said. “We made a lot of mistakes, but we covered it up with our energy, just playing hard and that’s how we have to play every single night. We can’t come in and not play that way because that’s the way we play.”
The Cavaliers must cope with the defensive skill of center Marc Gasol, who posted his third double-double of the season Saturday with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Kyle Lowry (17 points, six assists) and Serge Ibaka (12 points, 12 rebounds) showed signs of returning to form after missing 11 and 10 games, respectively, with injuries.
The Raptors have been without Fred VanVleet (right knee contusion) for three straight games.
This will be the first meeting this season between the teams. The Raptors were 3-1 against the Cavaliers last season.
–Field Level Media