NBA Tuesday Recap: Raptors' Struggles Continue As They Get Dropped By Cleveland

LeBron James: Playing 82 Games 'Has Never Been My Plan'

Stepping in and up: Jose Calderon scores 19 points to spark Cavaliers past Raptors, improve to 23-9 as a starter

The playoffs are still a couple weeks away and nothing that happens here will change the fact that they, like every other team, have to prove themselves in May (and, if they're fortunate enough, in June), not in early-April. Momentum starts in the regular season and carries over to the postseason. "We still have some things to get better at".

Toronto increased its lead over second-place Boston to three games.

The idea is to have DeRozan and Lowry rested to play super-sized minutes in the playoffs - where they've been knocked out by the Cavs each of the last two seasons. The second one, it was like, 'I'm by myself.' I was waiting for somebody to come close or for somebody to pass the ball to because I always like to pass.

Toronto has a solid shot of earning the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, although Boston's six-game winning streak has tightened up the race.

The Celtics are red-hot.

Toronto was still within 11 in the fourth when James drove the baseline, hung in the air and spun in a reverse layup while being fouled. A little over half of the Raptors' games have finished over the projected point total.

Kerr blasts Warriors' complacency again after loss to Pacers
Granted, the Warriors (57-22) did not just lose to the Pacers (46-32) because of Durant. IN also moved a half-game closer to supplanting Philadelphia for the No. 4 seed.

"It's a challenge that we're all looking forward to", Raptors All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan said, "what's at stake when it comes to first, and secondly, just to be able to bounce back and play and get this feeling off us". If they hadn't, their rate would be up to win games. Brad Stevens deployed it in the fourth and Casey didn't have an answer, not for a lack of effort in searching for one.

"Sometimes, you get more shots than others just because of what the defense gives", Calderon said. And Rodriguez and Jose and all those guys, they were just really smart and they were never going to beat themselves. That's not generally a recipe for success. The Cavaliers had led by 12 at 108-96 with less than a minute to go before three turnovers led to eight quick points by the Raptors. We held a great team under 80 points. That's what would make a playoff series between these two teams, these two coaches, so fascinating. He pounded his chest and screamed as he walked near Toronto's bench and coach Dwane Casey, who has seen the three-time champion make that kind of play so many times before. On the season, Toronto has defeated opponents by an average of 7.8 points.

Last meeting: The Cavaliers won 132-129 on March 21.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic came up big in a 107-104 win over the Pacers, with 30 points, seven assists and six rebounds. There was just too much noise and too many caveats on both sides. "Being here with this team, it's been unbelievable since day one". Meanwhile, the Cavs were without five injured rotation players. The Raptors have not played well since their Sunday loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and if the team once again flames out in the playoffs the entire feel good season will seem hollow. The Mavericks listed seven players out with injuries including Dirk Nowitzki, the 19-year veteran who missed only his second game of the season. The best game of the night turned out to be Lakers vs. Spurs. The last game between these teams was an eye opener for the Cavs (in a good way). "They're not letting their natural basketball instincts take over".

J.J. Redick scored 19 points and Ben Simmons added 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia Sixers to their 11th straight win - a 121-95 victory against the Brooklyn Nets.

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