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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Cavs at Raptors

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers (3-2) at Toronto Raptors (2-3)
Time: 7 p.m.; Venue: Air Canada Centre; TV/Radio: Fox Sports Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Anthony Parker, SF Omri Casspi, PF Antawn Jamison, C Anderson Varejao
Raptors probables: PG Jose Calderon, SG DeMar DeRozan, SF Rasual Butler, PF Andrea Bargnani, C Amir Johnson
Officials: Ron Garretson, Eric Dalen, Eric Lewis
Injury report: Cavs -- Semih Erden (thumb) out, Samardo Samuels (passport) out; Raptors: Jerryd Bayless (ankle) questionable, Aaron Gray (heart) questionable, Linas Kleiza (knee) out.

* Samardo Samuels did not make the trip north of the border because he lost his passport weeks ago and was unable to complete the required paperwork in time. Samuels remains in the U.S. and will presumably rejoin the Cavs tomorrow in Minneapolis.

* With Samuels out, Ryan Hollins is back in as the Cavs' backup center. Hollins played 15 fairly non-descript minutes against the Raptors on opening night.

* Christian Eyenga was sent to the Development League today, which isn't much of a surprise. The move had been expected for more than a week, since Eyenga played a total of one minute thus far. That came last night in the win over the Bobcats.

* Coach Byron Scott has maintained since early in camp that Eyenga is far behind Omri Casspi and Alonzo Gee at small forward and he has plenty to work on. Eyenga's defensive lapses drive Scott nuts, for starters.

* Andrea Bargnani (22.6 ppg) and DeMar DeRozan (17.2 ppg) create a formidable 1-2 punch for the Raptors offensively. DeRozan is similar to Ramon Sessions: His best asset is his ability to get to the basket, but in order to create more spacing, DeRozan worked on his 3-point shooting most of the summer.

* Think Sessions was a lousy 3-point shooter? DeRozan made less than 10 percent (5 of 52) of his attempts last season. He has already matched his total from all of last season, and he's done it on eight tries.

* As for Bargnani, multiple coaches prior to Raptors coach Dwane Casey have tried getting him to play better defense, to no avail. Casey seems to be getting through. Bargnani hasn't been as awful defensively as he's been in the past.

* For the record, I'm fine if the NBA relocates the Raptors franchise to Seattle. Or Bangor, Maine. Or Poughkeepsie. Anywhere in the U.S. Cell service/e-mail/text/Twitter is miserable every time I come here. I'll be the first one on the plane tomorrow.

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