Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors: game preview and how to watch

The Cleveland Cavaliers open the 2022-23 campaign on the road against the Toronto Raptors in a game that could have playoff implications. This is the first time in decades that a non-LeBron James-managed Cavalier team has entered the season with legitimate expectations of competing in a Deep Eastern Conference. We should have a fun season ahead of us.

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors

Where: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON

When: 7:30 p.m. EST

TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports+, NBA League Pass

counterblog: Raptors HQ

Estimated starting lineup for the Cavs: Darius Garland / Donovan Mitchell / Caris LeVert / Evan Mobley / Jarrett Allen

Cav’s injury report: Ricky Rubio (OUT – ACL), Dylan Windler (OUT – Ankle)

Expected starting lineup for the Raptors: Fred VanVleet / Gary Trent Jr / OG Anunoby / Scottie Barnes / Pascal Siakam

Raptor’s Injury Report: Chris Boucher (DOUBT – Achilles tendon), Otto Porter Jr. (OUT – Achilles tendon), Malachi Flynn (LIKELY – Face)

Three things to see

The Battle of the Courts.

Styles ultimately lead to struggles. The Cavs and Raptors are such an interesting watch because of their contrasting styles. Toronto isn’t shy about launching a lineup where the tallest player is 6ft 8in, with the expectation that almost any player can defend places one through five if needed. Conversely, Cleveland is willing to play multiple seven-footers at once while daring teams to take it to the edge.

The Cavs won the season series 3-1 last year, but we couldn’t get a great answer as to which style wins out over the other. The Cavs had only Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley available for a full game in those four encounters. Likewise, Toronto’s frontline of OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam only played together in one of those four competitions.

That should change Wednesday night as both front lines are expected to be at full strength. We’ll see if Allen and Mobley can express their advantage in color while hanging on the edge with them.

Impact on the playoffs.

The Cavs led the Raptors 139 straight days last season before eventually retiring due to sometimes overwhelming injuries. The Cavs finished four games behind the Raptors and two games ahead of the sixth-ranked Chicago Bulls.

The Cavs will once again battle teams like the Raptors for a top six playoff spot. Playoff spots can be won or lost depending on how teams fare in their head-to-head matches. The Cavs only play the Raptors three more times this season. A Wednesday night win would give the Cavs a decent shot at tying or winning the season streak. Those games could mean the difference between the Cavs staying firmly in the top six or looking inside from the outside again.

The beginning of the Donovan Mitchell era.

The Cavs made the biggest move of the summer, going all in for Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell was brought in with the idea of ​​taking the core of Garland, Mobley and Allen to the next level, transforming them from a team dreaming of making the playoffs into one that expects to last well into spring to play.

This will be our first look at how these four core players work together on the floor. The preseason has shown us that the Garland and Mitchell duo can work offensively as they show natural chemistry and a feel for each other’s games. We don’t know how this duo will hold up defensively given that the frontline of Mobley and Allen couldn’t come onto the court together last season.

How these four players fit together will determine how the Cavs perform this season and define this era of Cavalier basketball. Wednesday night will give us a first glimpse of where this era is headed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *