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Feb 10, 2024 2:36 am

Cavs seek 9th straight win, take on new-look Raptors

donovan mitchell

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be going for their ninth consecutive victory when they visit the rebuilding Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers are coming off a 118-95 road win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. Toronto opened a five-game homestand Friday night with a 107-104 win over the Houston Rockets.

The Raptors expect to play Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji, who were obtained in a trade with the Utah Jazz before the trade deadline on Thursday, against Cleveland. They were with the Raptors on Friday but did not play.

The Cavaliers, who have won 16 of 17, did not make a trade before the deadline.

“I think for us, the bulk of the work was done in the offseason,” Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman said. “You know me, I’m very active and do a lot of volume (of due diligence), but sometimes you don’t want to mess up a good thing.”

Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points in the win over Brooklyn. Evan Mobley added 14 points and 12 rebounds, Jarrett Allen had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Darius Garland scored 14 points.

“You have fun because of the results, and you can enjoy it because of the results and what our message to the guys is,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “You can have fun in the competition, you can have fun supporting one another, pulling for one another, doing the gritty, dirty things, sharing the ball.”

“I mean, this is an exciting basketball team,” Altman said. “This is a core group that’s 28 years or younger that’s set up for success for a long time. And they’re getting better. … I would say there’s a few things (we) could have done. I don’t think we were close to doing anything philosophically at all.”

Toronto has won two in a row after beating the Houston Rockets 107-104 on Friday.

“Now we know what we’ve got and we can try and build on this,” said Jakob Poeltl, who had 16 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and six blocked shots on Friday. “We know this team is going to stay together exactly this way at least until the end of the season. Obviously, there’s just a new wave of young players and we’re trying to build something. So we can look at the rest of the season for us to get a head start there.”

Immanuel Quickley scored 25 points, Scottie Barnes had 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and RJ Barrett scored 21 points for Toronto.

Houston trailed by as many as 22 points and cut the lead to one in the final minute but Toronto hung on.

“I told guys, ‘We just need to learn how to close those games: what it takes, how to execute, how to get that extra rebound that we need,’ ” Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic said. “It came down to the last couple of possessions that we needed to get a stop. It’s going to be a really good film for us to watch and then learn.”

Olynyk was born in Toronto and raised in Kamloops, B.C.

“It’s a full-circle moment,” he said. “It’s really cool to look back at your life and everything that you’ve done up till now and how monumental the Raptors have been in my life. My mom was a scorekeeper here. My dad was an associate coach here for a year. You know, just being in the driveway pretending you’re a Raptor growing up.”

–Field Level Media

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