COVID-19 depleted Raptors suffer hard 45-point loss to Cavaliers

December 27, 2021
COVID-19 depleted Raptors suffer hard 45-point loss to Cavaliers
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Kevin Love and Darius Garland scored 22 points apiece, and the Cleveland Cavaliers tied their franchise record with 46 points in the third quarter of a 144-99 rout over the COVID-19 depleted Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

Lauri Markkanen added 20 points and Garland had eight assists for Cleveland, which led by 47 points twice late in the fourth. The Cavaliers won their fifth in a row at home and made 22 3-pointers in a team-record 52 attempts.

Yuta Watanabe posted career highs of 26 points and 13 rebounds for Toronto, and Chris Boucher scored 21 points. The Raptors have 10 players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, including top scorer Fred VanVleet, rookie Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam.

The Raptors’ eight-man active roster — featuring four hardship signees — had never been together until holding a brief practice on the main court at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse before the game. D.J. Wilson had 15 points and eight rebounds in his team debut.

Toronto’s previous two games were postponed when it could not suit up the required eight players. Boucher, Watanabe, Svi Mykhailiuk and Dalano Banton were the Raptors’ only holdovers from their pre-outbreak squad.

It was Cleveland’s largest victory margin of the season and the first time Toronto has lost by more than 17 points in 2021-22. The Cavaliers had 39 assists, two shy of the most in the NBA this season.

WATCH l Cavaliers handle depleted Raptors with ease:

Cavaliers handle depleted Raptors with ease

With a multitude of players in COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the shorthanded Toronto squad fell 144-99 to Cleveland on the road. 0:59

Denzel Valentine had 17 points and nine rebounds, Dean Wade scored 17 points, and Ricky Rubio had 16 points and six assists for Cleveland. Love grabbed nine boards and Tacko Fall had three points and seven rebounds in 11 minutes off the bench.

Rookie Evan Mobley and centre Jarrett Allen were among seven Cavaliers sidelined because of the safety protocols. Cleveland has the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 20-13.

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