Welcome to the 10 things recap by theScore features writer William Lou, which serves to highlight emerging trends from a Raptors perspective.
Labored: The Raptors were always in control, but it was hardly an easy win. The Cavaliers caught Toronto sleeping and made small runs to finish quarters and stay close, which made the Raptors play their starters until the very end. However, Cleveland just didn't have enough talent to get over the hump.
Dominant: Kawhi Leonard got whatever he wanted tonight. He got to the rim, collected some and-ones, nailed his short jumpers, pulled up from deep, locked down his man, and was generally excellent on both ends of the floor. He finished with 34 points and was a plus-28 in 37 minutes.
Dangerous: Leonard came up with another clutch steal to secure the win. On Thursday, he picked off Kevin Durant on a low crossover in overtime, while tonight, Cedi Osman tried the exact same move and got the same result. Leonard's arms are so ridiculously long that he can almost touch the floor while in a crouching stance.
Smart: The Raptors wisely gave Kyle Lowry a night off to rest his sore back. Lowry had played in every game and has extended himself on nights when Kawhi Leonard has sat out. Toronto should always be mindful of Lowry's workload, as he has a habit of burning out before the playoffs.
Concern: Having said that, the Raptors' offense fell off a cliff without Lowry running the show. He seems to be the only player who knows how to run a pick-and-roll, as both Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright have no idea how to find the big. This problem became so obvious that Nick Nurse even had Danny Green and OG Anunoby run the action.
Sneaky: Green continues to make himself useful in the margins. Over the last few weeks, the Raptors have sent Green tip-toeing along the baseline to sneak in for offensive rebounds. He caught the Cavaliers napping for two putbacks tonight.
Confidence: Pascal Siakam's confidence grows by the day. He made Serge Ibaka clear out on a post-up, then promptly took Rodney Hood off the dribble for a spinning hook shot plus the foul. Siakam has a bit of the same freakiness off the dribble as Giannis Antetokounmpo, although obviously not to the same extent.
Inverse: VanVleet continues to be more effective when he plays with another primary ball-handler on the floor who isn't Wright. Siakam found him for a cutting layup and a catch-and-shoot three, which were the only two easy looks VanVleet got all night.
Useful: Tristan Thompson would make for a nice deadline addition for any contender looking for some defensive versatility and experience. Thompson has a history of success against both Boston and Golden State, and he's one of the best rebounders in the league, which would make him a good fit for a team with Toronto's needs.
Sad: Kevin Love looks great in a turtleneck. That's about the only reason to watch the Cavaliers this year. Quicken Loans Arena is dead silent these days, even after Dan Gilbert essentially scammed fans into locking in season tickets.