TORONTO: Iman Shumpert could be available to play tonight when the Cavaliers visit the Toronto Raptors Friday night, although coach Tyronn Lue sounded a bit more optimistic than Shumpert.
“Supposed to be a go,” Lue said Friday morning prior to the team’s shootaround. “That’s last I heard.”
Shumpert wasn’t sure how physical the morning walkthrough was going to be and thought he might need contact on the left shoulder first, such as a full practice, before being cleared. The Cavs were originally supposed to practice on Thursday, but cancelled it. Instead, players just got shots up.
“I’ve got to get some contact on it to make sure it’s straight,” Shumpert said.
He missed three games with what the team called a sprained left shoulder when Bulls forward Doug McDermott fell on it after Shumpert dove for a steal. Shumpert indicated the shoulder became temporarily dislocated, although he didn’t want to use that term. It was the same shoulder he dislocated last season with the New York Knicks and missed six weeks as a result.
“I don’t like to say it popped out, but it went back in,” Shumpert said. “It wasn’t hanging off.”
This is the final meeting between the two best teams in the East and Friday’s winner could determine a potential tiebreaker for home-court advantage. The Cavs lead the Raptors by 3 games in the standings, but a victory would essentially make it a 5-game lead with 25 to go. The Raptors have won their last nine home games.
“They play hard. In this league it’s a forgotten art that playing hard will get you over the top,” Lue said. “And they have talent mixed in with playing hard. With (All-Stars) Kyle Lowry and (DeMar) DeRozan playing at a high level, they’re a tough team to beat.”