The Toronto Raptors started their day off with a blockbuster trade dealing Terrence Ross and a first-round draft choice to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka. This deal is awesome for Toronto as they augmented their defense and front-court scoring. Signs of new hope for the Raptors to improve enough to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers if they meet in the playoffs again arose. But for tonight, Serge won’t be playing tonight meaning the Raptors will continue to struggle on defense but that won’t affect them from winning tonight against the ailing Chicago Bulls. Chicago will be without several players tonight including veteran Dwayne Wade, forward Nikola Mirotic, and rookie Paul Zipser. Jimmy Butler is probable but pain within his right heel continues to linger. As of late, the Bulls have been struggling both on and off the court with injuries, crashing chemistry, head coach control, and more with no signs of their issues being bandaged anytime soon. Both teams are 4-6 in their past 10 games but unlike the Bulls, the Raptors have made moves to improve their play and chances at competing for a championship. That brings more positive energy and life to Toronto whom will end their night the same way they kicked their morning off. With a win.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be visiting the Timberwolves in Minnesota tonight. This morning it was announced via ESPN sources that Kevin Love will be sidelined for the next 6 weeks due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Immediately, Lebron’s amount of playing time potentially increasing came to question. “I’ll rest when I retire. As long as I’m in the lineup, we’ve got a chance.” Lebron said in response to the challenge. The 32-year old 3-time NBA champion, who has also played in the previous 6 straight NBA Finals, is one of the league leaders in minutes per game this season. He is one of the best leaders in sports and has the ability to help his teammates improve their level of play but more so while on the court. Nevertheless, in this matchup, the Cavs can take this matchup as a game to hopefully find a temporary identity without Love. Kevin also missed Cleveland’s previous matchup against Minnesota in which they came out with the 125-97 blowout win. The Timberwolves struggle on the defensive end, especially late in games. They usually have to trade buckets with their opponent in order to keep up because they somehow aren’t able to get a lot of defensive stops. So even if the Wolves keep the game close, it isn’t likely that they will be able to prosper and come out on top of the defending champions.
Demarcus Cousins and Sacramento Kings will look for a 4th straight victory in their matchup versus the Los Angeles Lakers tonight in Staples Center. The Kings have been playing very well in the month of February holding a 4-2 record halfway through the month with a couple of those victories coming against the Warriors and Celtics. They look to play the Lakers in Staples Center where they have won their previous 3 games against the Lakers. The Lakers are also coming off a 122-114 victory over the Bucks but throughout the season have shown nothing but inconsistency in their game. After they started the season 10-10 they were showing signs of promise as long as they could continue to share the ball and play defense. But since December 1st they have been 9-27 showing inconsistency in both of those categories ranking 26th in the league in assists and 27th in opponents points scored per game. The Kings will continue to make their push for the 8th seed and will come within a game behind Denver tonight after they defeat the Lakers with Demarcus Cousins dominating with another high scoring double-double.