Pre-game in Toronto, one can always tell if and when LeBron James is present. There’s a palpable buzz in the arena, the media throng is large enough to actually deserve the adjective “throng,” and the stakes, such as they are for a regular season game in January, feel much higher.
Still, it’s just one of 82, a single box score in a sea of numbers. It’s important to keep perspective — or maybe that’s just what I’m telling myself.
The truth is, it is hard to resist getting jazzed up for a game against this version of the Cleveland Cavaliers. For every Eastern Conference team, they’re the gate barring all challengers from the promised land. And for every player, LeBron remains the standard bearer — the measuring stick against which all other players are compared. We can keep all kinds of perspective here, but we can’t deny reality.
The Raptors, fired up or not, are not at their best right now. It’s not entirely their fault. Kyle Lowry is injured with no immediate timetable for return. Serge Ibaka is suspended one game for taking a swing in self-defense. And the Raps’ offense, still in the process of being reborn, has reverted to some version of its old ways. This last bit is something of a concern, but it’s also connected to those first two bits — perspective strikes once again.
And so, we reconvene, we are abuzz, we prepare.
Here’s the full preview of Raptors-Cavaliers, and here are the details for tonight.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet, 8:00 pm
Toronto – Delon Wright, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, C.J. Miles, Jonas Valanciunas
Cleveland – Isaiah Thomas, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Jae Crowder, Kevin Love
Toronto – Kyle Lowry (still sore), Serge Ibaka (not sore, but dejected)
Cleveland – Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert
FACEBOOK LIVE UPDATE:
Raps/Cavs preview with Sean Woodley. Ask questions in the comments!Posted by Raptors HQ on Thursday, January 11, 2018