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DeMar DeRozan Leads Raptors As Cavs Struggle At Halfway Point

With apologies to Vince Carter, DeMar DeRozan might be doing more right now to earn the “Air Canada” nickname.

Coming off a 35-point performance in an OT win against Brooklyn on Monday night, the reigning eastern conference player of the week has sparked the Raptors’ already high-flying offense during their recent five-game winning streak, including 52 points in Toronto’s New Year’s Day victory over Milwaukee, and the go-ahead triple against the Nets.

But, until he dunks over a 7’2” Frenchman at the Olympics though, DeRozan may have to be content with being “Heir Canada” for the time being.

The second-place Raptors’ winning streak could be in jeopardy as guard Kyle Lowry – the Tracy McGrady to DeRozan’s Carter – took a hard fall in the win over Brooklyn, landing awkwardly on his lower back. Per ESPN, Lowry has been diagnosed with back spasms and a bruised tailbone, and is listed as day-to-day on Toronto’s injury report.

Meanwhile, Lebron James and the Cavs are coming off an embarrassing 127-99 loss to Minnesota on Monday night and have dropped six of their past nine games. “Yeah, we’re just not playing well right now,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin after the game. James posted his lowest scoring total in a decade (10 points) in the loss, the only Cleveland starter to reach double figures.

While Cleveland currently has a firm hold on the number three spot in the Eastern Conference playoff rankings, what’s alarming is their mediocre 10-8 record against teams with records of .500 or better. While not the biggest sample size, the Cavs need to perform better against improved competition if they want to make a deep postseason run.

Watch the Raptors play the Cavaliers Thursday at 8pm ET on TNT.

All stats courtesy ESPN and Basketball Reference