Sat, 04 Feb 2023

Raptors hoping for influx of healthy players vs. Cavaliers

Field Level Media
28 Nov 2022, 22:55 GMT+10

The Toronto Raptors hope to have some of their injured players in the lineup soon, perhaps as early as Monday night against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.

"It looks like we're getting some guys back," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Sunday. "I think it remains to be seen yet until we get to (Monday), but we're certainly getting closer. They're moving much better out there, so it's a good sign."

Pascal Siakam (adductor strain) and Scottie Barnes (sprained knee) were among the injured players who participated in Toronto's practice on Sunday and appear close to a return.

Toronto will catch Cleveland on the second night of back-to-back games. The Cavaliers, also dealing with injuries, had only 10 available players Sunday for their 102-94 road win over the Detroit Pistons.

If Siakam does not play Monday, he could be ready for the road game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.

"I think, for me, I'm just taking it one day at a time," Siakam said Sunday. "I'm progressing, though, so that's a good thing."

After defeating the visiting Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Saturday, the Raptors are 5-5 since Siakam was injured on Nov. 4. Barnes has missed the past two games.

Both players were listed early Monday morning as questionable for the Cavaliers' game, as were Dalano Banton (sprained ankle) and Justin Champagnie (lower back).

Precious Achiuwa (sprained ankle) and Otto Porter Jr. (dislocated toe) were listed as out.

"It looks like (Barnes) is moving good," Nurse said. "He's still questionable (for Monday). To me, he looks like he's doing OK out there."

Fred VanVleet, who missed the loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday because of illness, returned on Saturday to score 26 points -- 18 in the first half. O.G. Anunoby also had 26 points, and reserve Chris Boucher scored a season-best 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Cleveland's injury list on Sunday included Jarrett Allen (lower-back contusion) and Caris LeVert (sprained left ankle).

They joined Kevin Love (fractured thumb) and Lamar Stevens (illness) on the sidelines in Detroit on Sunday for the middle game of a three-game trip. LeVert has not played since Nov. 20. Allen played 12 minutes in the 117-102 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

Robin Lopez, who made his first start for Cleveland in Allen's place on Sunday, but played just less than four minutes.

The Cavaliers still had Donovan Mitchell (32 points) and Darius Garland (19 points, 10 assists) on Sunday. Cleveland outscored Detroit 29-16 in the fourth quarter, led by Mitchell's 14 points.

With Allen unavailable, Evan Mobley had more responsibility at both ends of the court, particularly on defense. He responded with 20 points, 13 rebounds and one blocked shot.

"I thought Evan was phenomenal on both ends of the floor," Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "He scored well. We've been pushing to get more 3s out of him; he's taking his shots, he rebounded the ball."

"He's really being aggressive," Mitchell said. "He was the reason we stayed in the game for the first three quarters."

Bickerstaff was disappointed by his team's shooting -- 42.9 percent overall and 28.6 percent from long range.

"It wasn't a terrible game, but we missed a lot of shots we usually make," Bickerstaff said. "We didn't want to put everything on Donovan and Darius, which is why Evan was so important on both ends of the floor. He saved us when everyone was struggling."

Toronto defeated the Cavaliers 108-105 at home on Oct. 19 in the opening game of the season for both teams.

--Field Level Media

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