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Raptors tip off preseason in Vancouver vs. Trail Blazers: Preview, start time, and more

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The dawn of the Kawhi era is upon us, as Game 0 tips off a new Raptors season.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back, baby! I don’t know how much previewing I get to do here. I don’t totally know what to expect; I don’t totally know what not to expect.

In this first preview of the Raptors’ season, pre- or otherwise, I can only throw an attempt out there at what’s going to go down.

But as the Toronto Raptors, now led by Kawhi Leonard (what a crazy sentiment) and also the returning Kyle Lowry, prepare to take on the Portland Trail Blazers, still led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, basketball will happen. It will happen in the near-future and it will be very exciting. Very, very exciting.

Where to Watch

7 p.m. EST, TSN2

(Bring me Matty D & Jack!)

Injuries

Toronto — none

Portland — Moe Harkless (knee)—questionable for opening night, Seth Curry (leg)—probable for opening night

Lineups

Toronto — question mark

Portland — also a question mark

********

Live from Vancouver

The home for this very special first preseason game gets its own heading. That’s right, Vancouver. The Canadian nature of this basketball team is taken to heart especially in the preseason when they can travel and put on shows for the cities that don’t have NBA basketball anymore. It’s a shame, though, that the Grizzlies aren’t still north of the border, I think.

Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor

I didn’t want to mention this name first, so second will suffice. But this, my friends, is what is referred to as the elephant in the room. We all want to know what it looks like, how it looks, and why it looks like that. Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor and we all want to see how he performs in a Toronto Raptors uniform. Do I need to say anymore?

The Nick Nurse Experiment

The heading currently reads as misleading and if you read it the wrong way, I am sorry. But Nick Nurse is going to experiment with stuff—lots and lots of stuff, but mostly lineups. This is the first testing ground for him to play with his puzzle pieces. Yes, I just referred to human beings as puzzle pieces.

But that’s okay. That’s what this is for. Kinks are to be worked out, as Nurse gets a first feel at full-blown NBA games as the man in charge. I say that like it’s so different from D-League and Summer League but since this is merely an exhibition, it’s probably not.

Opening a Pack of Cards

It’s Ben Falk—of Cleaning The Glass fame—who put it so succinctly when he described opening the preseason as the crazy feeling of opening a pack of trading cards. The mysteries kind of maybe begin to solve themselves.

This Means Little

It is preseason basketball.

Preseason (adjective): (of a sporting event) taking place before the regular season.

What that means is that this is not the season. What happens in Vancouver and in the four games afterwards in various other cities does not mean all that much—dare I say that it means nothing. Sports are fun, basketball is back.

Read that last sentence again: BASKETBALL IS BACK.

All-caps is a little much, but the idea remains. Even when the on-court results mean nothing, there is something to be taken from this. Because to lifelong basketball fans, to new basketball fans, to Raptors fans, to Blazers fans, to everyone I didn’t mention, even this mere idea of a nothing game means something.