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Raptors vs. Cavaliers: The first half of the end of the world

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Here's hoping the Raptors are good and ready, as they look for their first win in Cleveland in 18 months.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach the 10 game milestone in this young NBA season, the Toronto Raptors have to be happy with how they've started. At 7-2, they're laying the foundation for another year as the Eastern Conference's second-best team. The only folks building their house faster? The Cleveland Cavaliers.

Damn it, Cleveland. Even as DeMar DeRozan puts up numbers that put him in the same breath as Michael Jordan, the Cavaliers overshadow the Raptors like a thunder cloud. The palpable feeling follows the Raptors -- and all other Eastern teams -- "we can keep improving, but we still can't beat LeBron".

Or maybe they can. Other than a sloppy loss to Atlanta, the 8-1 Cavaliers haven't been tested like they were on October 28, when they narrowly beat Toronto 94-91 at the Air Canada Centre. With the setting in Cleveland tonight, the Raptors should be in must-win mode -- because anything you can stack against the champs is good news for the Raptors.

Try and steal home court in a potential playoff series? That's on the list. After another showdown on December 5, the Raps don't play the Cavs again until the very last game of the regular season on April 12. Considering these two teams finished within a game of each other in 2015-16, that game could very well be meaningful if Toronto wins tonight. It's like we're already in the playoffs!

Anyway, a win would be good for short-term goals too. With the Warriors in Toronto tomorrow night, the first half of this Suicide Squad back-to-back seems to be the more gettable game.

Set yourself up for it with Russell Peddle's preview, then get into the comments!