Toronto Raptors Blowout Cleveland Cavaliers to Close Out 2019
Behind a superstar-like performance from Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors started 2019 off with a win.
On Tuesday night, the reigning NBA champions closed out the year in a similar fashion – with a victory. Their final win of 2019 came in blowout fashion as they routed the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 117-97. Kyle Lowry led the way with 24 points on a night where once again the Raptors put together a total team effort, which saw five other guys finish in double figures.
Not a bad way to tie a bow on what’s been an exhausting month.
“It’s felt busy. I don’t know, I think we’ve done OK. I’m proud,” head coach Nick Nurse said. “I think the guys have fought. There’s only been a couple blips where we didn’t play worth a darn. Most of the time we’ve won or we’ve had a chance and they’ve been real close. They’ve been tough. Bounce of a ball here or there, we might have won a bunch of those.”
Changing things up as he usually does, Nurse flipped Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for OG Anunoby in the starting rotation. The third year forward has been struggling the past few weeks with his perimeter shooting and Nurse decided he wanted to mix things up while working the matchups.
“You guys know, I like to mix it up a little bit, haven’t been doing it all that much this year,” Nurse said following the win, addressing the lineup switch. “I thought maybe get both of them going, both Rondae and OG. (Kevin) Love with the big matchup, maybe a little bit more of a banging type guy for Rondae to start on.
“Seemed like it worked out OK, they both played really well tonight. I liked the energy from both of them,” Nurse added.
Anunoby was able to rise to the occasion after the change in role. The three-point shot looked more consistent and he finished the night with 12 points off the pine. Meanwhile, Terence Davis was scorching hot and led the second unit with 19 points, including four three-pointers and a big fourth quarter performance in a game that was never truly in doubt.
As the champs close out 2019, they now look forward to a healthier 2020. There still remains no updates on their injured players, although Coach Nurses assures that they are trending in the right direction. The hope is that at the very least, Pascal Siakam returns to the floor in the short term.
Nevertheless, the Raptors will now shift their focus on their next matchup, which will take place in Sunny South Beach where Toronto will take on the Miami Heat.