The Toronto Raptors were in full control en route to a 133-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. This contest is the Raptors first decisive win since the game against Utah on December 1st. With the win Toronto (18-8) retains their position as the fifth ranked team in a tightly contested Eastern Conference. With the loss Cleveland falls to 6-21 which leaves them in a three-way tie for the worst mark in the Eastern Conference.

The Raptors Are Bouncing Back

This win alongside the 110-102 win over the Brooklyn Nets (14-12) on Saturday marks the first win streak the Raptors have had during their challenging December schedule. Over the past two games the Raptors have looked more fluid especially on offence. Their average of 121.5 points per game far surpasses their month’s average of 110.1 points per game. This increased scoring also comes with increased more efficient shooting splits. 48.1% from the field with a much improved 41.7% efficiency from beyond the arc. The Raptors have shot the three ball horrendously this month, shooting a ghastly 34% from beyond the arc.

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While Pascal Siakam‘s game-high 33 points lead the charge it was the explosive play of Norman Powell that made a huge difference in the contest. Powell dropped a cool 26 points shooting 73.3% (11/15) from the field and 66.7% (4/6) from beyond the arc. He was active all over the floor as he battled for 6 rebounds, and distributed 5 assists. He was active on the defensive end as well, snatching 4 steals. Norman Powell has been the heart of this team during the tough stretch of games this month. While the injury to Fred VanVleet is terrible for the team, Powell’s emergence has been a silver lining, allowing the Raptors a more robust offensive system. It will be interesting to see how Coach Nurse adjusts the system when VanVleet returns to form. Kyle Lowry is also playing impressively, adding a 20 point and 11 assist double-double.

Colin Sexton and Darius Garland performed well. The Cavaliers’ young duo produced 45 points on 56.7% (17/30) efficiency. Sexton’s performance was especially impressive as his 25 points were all scored in the paint against an elite Toronto inside defense. Kevin Love was a non-factor, producing just 9 points in the contest.

Toronto heads to Detroit to take on Dwayne Casey and the always competitive Pistons (11-16). The Raptors look to take further advantage of this weaker stretch of their schedule. Tune in tomorrow night at 7:00PM/EST for what will be a competitive grudge match.