The Raptors beat the Cavaliers once this season, but Cleveland didn't have Kyrie Irving healthy at the time and it was still a close game. Then the Cavaliers, with their roster largely intact, killed the Raptors in the second meeting. Toronto was of course playing without noted LeBron James slower-downer DeMarre Carroll. All things being equal -- which, admittedly, is a hard thing to say when LeBron is involved -- the Raptors and Cavaliers both haven't quite been given a fair shake against each other.
Still, the Cavaliers are three games up on the Raptors and it seems likely, barring a collapse that involves the firing of their coach, the trading of their players, or the signing of some bought-out malcontent (only one of these things has actually happened), things will remain this way. Such is life in the world of LeBron.
This won't stop the Raptors from trying, though. The team is currently on a three game winning streak and is, literally, in the best place it's ever been, franchise-wise. Toronto just hosted All-Star weekend, had two players in the showcase, and have their best record after 50 games ever. The team even got a brand new practice facility! Everything is coming up Raptors.
Ah, but I'm just distracting you with all this optimism talk. The Raptors are playing the best team in the Eastern Conference tonight, the team with the best player in the world on it, the team that will always be standing in their way as long as the man named James is still playing at the level to which he is accustomed. It sucks, but as I said, all things are not equal.
Here's Dan Grant's much more upbeat preview. Now let's get to the comments.