Dec 1, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters (right) celebrates a three-point basket in front of Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) in the first overtime at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers Preview: Toronto Raptors at Cavaliers


If there is one thing that Cavalier fans need, it’s a win at Quicken Loans Arena against the team with the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference. Taken that the Cavs have control of the overall second-worst record in the league, but I think they way the Wine and Gold have played through 25 games doesn’t reflect on how this team has played as a whole.Regardless, a win against a dysfunctional Toronto Raptors team would be good for a team that has had losing streaks of three games or more four times this season. The game will tipoff at Quicken Loans Arena at 7 p.m. and can be watched on Fox Sports Ohio (coverage starts at 6:30 p.m.) and will be aired on the radio on WTAM 1100. Here are some statistics to look over before the game starts:

Cavaliers (5-20, 3-7 home)

Offensive Efficiency – 97.1 (29th)

Pace – 94.8 (11th)

Turnover Ratio – 14.5 (24th)

Defensive Efficiency – 105.7 (27th)

Average Points – 94.0 (23rd)

Average Rebounds – 42.8 (11th)

Average Assists – 19.5 (27th)

Average Points Allowed – 99.8 (22nd)

Raptors (6-19, 1-14 away)

Offensive Efficiency – 99.9 (20th)

Pace – 94.2 (18th)

Turnover Ratio – 12.4 (3rd)

Defensive Efficiency – 104.6 (24th)

Average Points – 95.5 (21st)

Average Rebounds – 40.7 (23rd)

Average Assists – 20.8 (20th)

Average Points Allowed – 101.2 (27th)

During an Italian television feed of the Western Conference final, Raptor center Andrea Bargnani, who is averaging 16.0 points, dropped a “bomb” on the already struggling Canadian team. Bargnani supposedly had some criticizing comments about his role on the team and the Raptors organization as a whole. Although he has since then recanted his words, these situations don’t help when a team is in the midst of a demoralizing season. Toronto has won one out of 15 contests on the road this season, and now is the perfect time for the Cavaliers to pick up their fourth win at the Q.

With Dion Waiters back in the starting lineup, the team should see an increase in points (and low-percentage shots). The former Syracuse player will have a tough battle to come back to, as he will be going up against DeMar DeRozan who is both an offensive threat and pesky defender. Dion has missed the past eight games with an ankle injury, in which C.J. Miles, Daniel Gibson and Omri Casspi split time taking on the starting role in his absence. Miles did the best job at filling in for the rookie, averaging 22.5 points in his four starts. Coming off the bench and starting at the two may have sparked something in his offense, so hopefully sending him back to the bench won’t lead to any digression in his play as of late.

A more intriguing matchup in the backcourt has to be between point guards Jose Calderon, who is averaging 10.1 points and 7.1 assists, and Kyrie Irving. Irving has struggled defensively against the top floor generals in the NBA, but he is also coming off of a career-high performance in points against the New York Knicks. Kyrie’s defense is clearly the weakest part of his game, and this is a great opportunity for him to start honing his defensive skills.

Tags: C.J. Miles Cleveland Cavaliers Dion Waiters Kyrie Irving Popular