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Raptors vs. Cavaliers Game Thread: Pre-game updates, TV info, and more

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A bout with LeBron is always top billing, but the Raptors and Cavaliers are still in two different places heading into tonight.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

When LeBron James gives you praise, it’s wise not to take it at face value. Like all the greats before him who manipulated the media, LeBron knows when it’s in his advantage to heap compliments on another team. Sometimes, it’s a motivating tactic for his teammates. Other times, it’s a plea for the opponent not to take his poor, young team seriously.

The Raptors are wise enough to this. They know what losing to LeBron is like, having gone through it the last two post-seasons. They’re also wise to the fact that they come into tonight’s matchup the better team — they come in 11.5 games(!) ahead of the Cavaliers, wreaking havoc while the Cavs have reeked of inconsistency.

Toronto has every right to come into these matchups confident. And yet... it’s LeBron. We know what he can do, especially after Cleveland’s last outing, when James became the oldest player to record a triple-double with 40 or more points. Goddamn.

Should the Raptors be afraid of LeBron? Sure, but to a healthy degree. Toronto comes at you in waves, Cleveland comes at you like a battering ram. There’s no more Kyrie, Kevin Love is working his way back into shape, and the highly touted post-deadline supporting cast is mis-shapen and injured. That includes tonight, as Kyle Korver, Rodney Hood and Tristan Thompson will all miss the game for different reasons.

As for the Toronto side:

Tonight, we’ll get to see a bit of a likely playoff series down the road. There’s no reason to fear, let’s just enjoy the entertainment.

Check out the game preview from Sully Akbari, and read the game details below.

Where to Watch

Sportsnet One, 7 PM ET

Lineups

Toronto - Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas

Cleveland - George Hill, Jose Calderon, LeBron James, Jeff Green, Kevin Love

Injuries

Toronto - C.J. Miles (flu - game time decision)

Cleveland - Rodney Hood (back - out), Larry Nance Jr. (hamstring - out), Cedi Osman (hip - out), Tristan Thompson (ankle - out), Kyle Korver (personal - out)