Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors preseason preview


The Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night, which is the fourth tune-up game for the Cavs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will host their friends from north of the border in Thursday night’s preseason game. It will be the fourth tune-up game for the Cavs and the Toronto Raptors.

LeBron James will be sitting out the contest, and several to follow, in order to insure that he is healthy entering the season, according to Joe Vardon of

Tyronn Lue’s decision to hold James out is to keep him healthy, but also gives an opportunity to see some players fighting for a roster spot in extended time. DeAndre Liggins, Dahntay Jones and Jordan McRae all seem to be wings battling for a roster spot. With James sitting, it gives the Cavs an opportunity to see what each bring to the table.

Cleveland will also have an opportunity to see some different rotations. Mike Dunleavy can play three different positions, including shooting guard, small forward and power forward. With James set to have his minutes limited, Dunleavy could be the key guy off the bench for the Cavs. It will also allow Richard Jefferson to find a fit at small forward and power forward.

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Watching Kay Felder battle up against the Raptors talented guards will be fun. There’s a possibility that he plays alongside Kyrie Irving in some lineups with the Cavs going with smaller lineups.

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Toronto should run out Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, as expected, but DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas are the keys to watch. The Raptors were without Valanciunas when the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Carroll was playing through injuries. Seeing how they impact the game when healthy is another key to watch.

The Raptors player that is most intriguing is their first round pick of the draft in Jakob Poeltl. He is a seven-foot center that plays similarly to Valanciunas. Through four preseason games, Poeltl is averaging 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while playing 12.0 minutes per game. He’s shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line.

Cleveland will have its first opportunity to see a healthy Raptors team and the rookie Poeltl. A lot can be learned from the time the starters will be on the court.

On the Cavs side, the game is an opportunity to figure out the wing situation behind LeBron, while he sits out. It also gives Lue an opportunity to mix-and-match different lineups and play small-ball.

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What are you looking for in the Cavs-Raptors game on Thursday night? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter @KJG_NBA.