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Cavaliers Vs. Raptors NBA Preview: Cleveland Looks For Three Straight

For more on the Cleveland Cavaliers, go to Fear The Sword. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NBA hub at SBNation.com/NBA.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing very well, with the particular help of Kyrie Irving, who has played extremely well to start the season, outside of his debut on Dec. 26 against the Toronto Raptors. Now, the Cavaliers have won two-straight, looking for their third as they return to the Air Canada Centre to play the Raptors for the second time. Irving scored just six points with seven assists and a turnover, and was 2-of-12 shooting on the day.

Since then, he's averaged 16.8 points and 5.3 points per game, and is shooting over 50% (53.1%) over the last four games. In their most recent outing, Irving had 20 points and six assists in a 115-101 win over the Bobcats on Tuesday.

Now sitting with a 3-2 record, the Cavaliers are over .500 for the first time since November of 2010, when the team was 4-3. That's a pretty big condemnation of how bad they've been lately, so Irving's play could be a big boost for them, and really, already has been. Defensively, they've improved since the opener as well, having a streak of three games without allowing 100 points, and having their last four opponents shooting a combined 41.4%. In contract, the Raptors shot 53.2% in the opener.

Still, the tables have turned slightly, with Cleveland sporting a winning record and the Raptors sitting at 2-3. Their second win of the season came in their last outing, a 90-85 win over New York on Monday, snapping a three-game losing streak. DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani both scored 21 points in that game, and New York was held to 35.9% shooting. At this point, both teams could be confident heading into this one.

For more on the Cleveland Cavaliers, go to Fear The Sword. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NBA hub at SBNation.com/NBA.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.