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

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The Raptors end the calendar year with a game against their old foes from Cleveland, the Cavaliers. How will they fare? Let’s watch.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

In retrospect, we probably could have gotten up more Best of the Decade-type content here on HQ. The absence of such is my fault, given some constraints on my time and attention as the Raptors rounded into this year’s final stretch. But there’s another reason though that we didn’t quite review and reflect on the past decade in Toronto: it all feels so small in the shade of the 2019 NBA championship.

Yes, there were other amazing moments (DeMar’s 52, T-Ross’ 51, JV’s last second dunk, Lowry killing it in Game 7, the post-ECF chant, Masai’s “Fuck Brooklyn”, the post-Rudy run, etc.), and really bad ones too (take your dang pick!); there were good decisions (not trading Lowry) and ones that turned out not so good (sorry DeMarre); there were also good guys (Jose! Amir! Cory!) and bad (Hedo just made the decade cut). And then there was everything that happened along the way to that title. When we zoom into those magical two months, the 2019 postseason served as a culmination for everything that happened in the Raptors’ “We The North” era, everything in the past ten years, and everything, really, since day one of the franchise. It was far and away the most significant and memorable series of moments in the history of this team. It also led to the end goal.

As a result, Raptors fandom feels different now. Yes, we still complain and kvetch and feel anxious. There is still, of course, a lot of guessing games and woulda, coulda, shouldas going on. And we have to wonder about what will happen next with the roster, and if or how the team’s braintrust will navigate towards another title in our lifetime. That’s not changing any time soon.

Yet through it all, we’ve found a kind of peace. We can recall what it was like during, say, that hopeless 2010-11 season that started the decade (22-60, baby!), and then remember, hey, we did it. So feel free to sound off with your best and worst Raptors-related things of the decade — there are plenty to choose from — below in the comments, and do so in the comfort of knowing the truth: the ultimate has been achieved.

And, oh yeah, enjoy tonight’s game against the [checks paper] Cleveland Cavaliers.

Where to Watch

TSN, 7pm EST

Lineups

Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Patrick McCaw, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Serge Ibaka

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Cleveland — Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson

Injuries:

Toronto — Pascal Siakam (out - groin), Marc Gasol (out - hamstring), Norman Powell (out - shoulder), Dewan Hernandez (out - ankle), Matt Thomas (out - finger)

Cleveland — Dylan Windler (out - leg)