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4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CT22:30 , October 17, 2018
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 19,915

Raptors host Cavaliers in matchup of new-look clubs

According to STATS
According to STATS

Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors

  1. For the fourth consecutive season, the Cavaliers made it to NBA Finals, but were swept by Golden State last season. They have had a winning percentage above .600 for four straight seasons, the longest streak in team history.
  2. The Raptors went 59-23 (.720) last season, their best record in franchise history. The team averaged 111.7 points, the most in franchise history and the fourth best in the NBA last season.
  3. Cleveland has swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The Cavs are now 12-2 (.857) in the playoffs against Toronto, their second-best record against any opponent (12-0 vs. Atlanta).
  4. Kevin Love finished shooting 41.5 percent from the three-point line last season, his best since 2010-11. It is the highest three-point percentage by a Cavalier frontcourt player since Lamond Murray in 2001-02 (42.4, minimum 200 attempts).
  5. Newly acquired Kawhi Leonard played only in nine games last season with the Spurs. Leonard won the defensive player of the year award in 2014-15 and 2015-16, becoming the first Spurs player to win the award twice.
  6. Kyle Lowry broke his own record for the most three pointers made in a single season in Raptors history, making 238 threes last season. Lowry's 965 threes since 2013-14 are the fifth most in the NBA.

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers have become familiar foes in the Eastern Conference, in the regular season and the playoffs.

Fittingly, they will open the season Wednesday night in Toronto, however with different looks.

The Cavaliers no longer have LeBron James, who is with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Among the missing from the Raptors is DeMar DeRozan, who was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a deal that netted Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

The Raptors also have a new coach in Nick Nurse after Dwane Casey was fired and took over as coach of the Detroit Pistons.

James, a four-time MVP, averaged 27.5 points last season, so Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said he feels that he knows what is required.

"We have to do it by committee," Lue said. "We're going to need five or six guys in double figures and I think we have that ability."

He said it means playing an up-tempo game.

"We're going to have to and if not, guys are going to sit down," Lue said. "We've got to play with pace. That's the style we want to play, everyone's involved that way, I think everyone has fun playing that way."

Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has been listed as doubtful for the season opener because of a sore right elbow. He had an MRI Monday that showed no structural damage.

Cleveland center/forward Larry Nance Jr., recently signed to a four-year contract, has been dealing with a sprained right ankle but practiced Tuesday.

"It's feeling great," Nance said. "Made a ton of progress. It's still black and blue, but it feels great. I ran around, jumped, blocked a couple shots (Tuesday) so I feel good doing everything. We'll see what (Wednesday) brings."

Nance is expected to share the role of starting center Tristan Thompson, who will likely be used against the bigger centers.

The Raptors were 4-1 in exhibition games.

Giving up their leading scorer and fan favorite DeRozan for Leonard, who can depart after one season, was a risk that the Raptors were willing to take after repeated playoff failures.

Nurse said he feels that the Cavaliers could be dangerous even without James, whose brilliance was a major barrier to the Raptors progressing deeper into the postseason in recent years.

"I think the thing with Cleveland is they're going to come in with an edge because James isn't there and they want to prove to the world that they can play a little bit without him," Nurse said. "I think I remember that Miami a couple of years ago (after James left) came out of the gates kind of like gangbusters, moving the ball and playing faster and doing all this stuff they wanted to do."

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said not knowing what to expect from Cleveland is a concern.

"They're probably going to play a different brand of basketball than we're used to seeing, so we have to be prepared for anything," Lowry said.

The Raptors are getting one of the top players in the league in Leonard, but he hardly played last season because of a quadriceps injury.

"So, you just need to play basketball, you know what I mean?" Leonard said. "Get in a rhythm, understanding what your schedule is, what you have ahead of you, and basketball starts coming easy. It's about finding a rhythm and getting games under my belt."

Nurse would not reveal his starting lineup for Wednesday.

"We've gotten a little closer to who we're going to run out there (Wednesday), but we're still not definite as to who the starters are," he said.

Delon Wright is questionable for Toronto because of a left thigh injury.

Leonard, OG Anunoby, Green, Serge Ibaka and Lowry are the likely starters for the Raptors.

Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, Thompson, Rodney Hood and George Hill are the possible starters for Cleveland.

Updated October 16, 2018

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