The Raptors will not have Fred VanVleet (personal) for today’s game against #Cavs.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) February 26, 2023
The rugged point guard is set to miss his third straight contest. While the Raptors might pine for his production of 19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game this season, they actually have played well in VanVleet’s absence.
The Raptors won both matches, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons by a combined nine points. Despite the absence of a traditional point guard in its starting lineup, Toronto still found ways to distribute the ball effectively.
Pascal Siakam was tasked with more ball-handling duties, which has actually been no problem for him in the 2022-23 campaign, as evidenced by his average of 6.1 assists per game.
Moreover, Jakob Poeltl has so far proven to be a solid acquisition for Toronto. In a Raptors uniform this season, the former lottery pick has averaged 14.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 74.4 percent from the field. The Cavs’ big men, including Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, will certainly have their hands full on Sunday.
Cleveland has been struggling as of late, so the Raptors bout is arguably a must-win match for the team.
It is currently on a three-game losing streak, suffering defeats at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks. Those losses saw the Cavs uncharacteristically give up an average of 123.0 points per contest. While Toronto isn’t exactly an elite offensive squad, it has still shown an ability to rack up plenty of points in some contests this season.
Therefore, Cleveland has to shore up its defense to help it get back in the win column. A victory for the Cavs would solidify their standing in the Eastern Conference.