How do the Toronto Raptors match up against the Cavaliers?

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MARCH 06: Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers tries to block Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - MARCH 06: Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers tries to block Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, Fred VanVleet, Cleveland Cavaliers
TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 5: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors drives past Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors rebounded from a slow second-half start to win five consecutive games on their West Coast road trip. At 39-30, they now stand tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the coveted No. 6 seed in the conference. Earning that seed would help them escape a play-in matchup against the Nets.

The Cavs had plenty of distance between themselves and their conference rivals to the north before the break, but injuries to Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert have contributed to their precipitous slide down the standings. Cleveland went from a top-four team to a potential play-in contender in a few weeks.

The Cavs have beaten Toronto in each of their three meetings, but those wins need to be qualified. The first was by one point when they had Collin Sexton in the lineup, the second came when Toronto’s roster was almost entirely sidelined due to COVID-19, and the third came without OG Anunoby or Fred VanVleet in the lineup.

While these two teams play with very contrasting styles, they are actually fairly even when matched up against one another. When it comes to deciding which team is more deserving of the higher seed, it’s a fairly difficult choice to make given how they are built.

Are the Toronto Raptors better than the Cleveland Cavaliers?


Toronto has a clear advantage over the Cavaliers here. Despite the sensational Darius Garland, the injuries to Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton have sapped tons of spark out of this lineup. Even though he has returned from injury, LeVert’s value is still very much a question mark at this point.

Even when Cleveland is healthy, Toronto might have the edge. VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. provide one heck of a 1-2 punch in the starting lineup. Scottie Barnes might be listed as a frontcourt player, but Toronto has utilized him to great effect as an oversized point guard throughout this season.

The Toronto Raptors have more backcourt star power.

On the bench, both teams are not exactly well-equipped. Malachi Flynn might be the most effective reserve Toronto has at the moment in this area and the cadaver of Rajon Rondo is not going to scare anyone from a scoring point of view. Toronto’s edge in star power may come in handy.

Trent might be in a slump right now, but his 41-point performance against Phoenix and 28 points against the Lakers show what he can do when he’s in a groove. With VanVleet having a slight statistical edge over Garland, Toronto may have the edge if they ever meet in the postseason.

Advantage: Raptors