Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson
Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, Anthony Parker, Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison, Ryan Hollins
Toronto: Jose Calderon will probably sit out tonight.
Cleveland: Anderson Varejao is probably out for a couple of weeks, while Christian Eyenga is day-to-day.
It’s amazing what the addition of a star player can do. Kyrie Irving was somewhat of an unknown quantity when the Cavaliers drafted him first overall after playing just 11 NCAA games — but 35 games into his NBA career, it’s clear that the Cavs made the right call. Irving has led them on a three-game winning streak that has the Cavs positioned just a game-and-a-half out of the eighth seed.
Although he plays the point guard position, Irving is a pure scorer and even though he’s just turning 20 later this month, he’s already one of the most potent offensive forces in the league. He can kill you from outside (over 40 percent on treys) and he’s also deadly on the drive. Keep an eye on his propensity to drive left tonight — even when you know that’s where he’s going, he’s extremely difficult to stop.
The Raptors won easily the last time these teams met on Jan. 4, but Irving scored just 13 points on 3-for-13 shooting that night. We can assume he’ll probably play better tonight. This will be an interesting test for Jerryd Bayless, who is running out of chances to show that he can win and hold on to a starting position in this league.
I wouldn’t ordinarily post an ad down here, but this one featuring Charles Barkley is pretty great.