The Cleveland Cavaliers have been the best team in the Eastern Conference so far, as they stay atop the standings with 22 wins and nine losses. They have looked more solid of late, with three victories on a trot and will be looking for their fourth straight win as they prepare to face Toronto Raptors at the Quicken Loans Arena on Monday.
The Raptors, who have also been decent this season and lie fourth in the conference, lost their last game against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. Toronto could have won the game had it not been for Bulls' Jimmy Butler, who scored an amazing 42 points.
If the Raptors struggled to contain Butler, one wonders what is going to happen when LeBron James bring his A-game on the floor in front of his home fans, who have been witnessing some brilliant individual performances from their No. 23. James, who is fighting sickness at present, averages 25.8 ppg this season.
''Hopefully I can try to shake whatever I got going on and it doesn't linger the next couple days," AP quoted James as saying.
What makes the task even tougher for the Toronto Raptors is Cavs' record at home, as they have only suffered a single loss. If Toronto are to win or even come close to defeating the Cavs, they need their big guns to fire. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will need to step up their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Toronto Raptors also need to have a good defensive night on Monday to contain the likes of James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
The Cavs, who are gradually getting their key stars – Irving and Iman Shumpert -- into the rotation, are taking it slowly and the duo is expected to hit top gear when they get back to top fitness.
"I still think both [Irving and Shumpert] of those guys are kind of in their preseason," Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. "I'm not saying they're not ready to play or that they're not playing well because they are but neither one is really in 100 percent basketball shape right now."
Where to watch NBA live
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors NBA game is scheduled for 7pm ET (5:30 am IST, 1am GMT) start. There is no live TV coverage in India.
There is no live TV coverage on National TV in the US.
Basketball fans in Philippines can watch the game in NBA Premium.
International viewers, including those in India, can watch all the NBA live action by live streaming on NBA Online.