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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Raptors at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: December 26, 2011

Toronto Raptors (0-0) at Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0)
7 p.m.; Quicken Loans Arena; Fox Sports Ohio

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 James Johnson, PF Andrea Bargnani, C Jamaal Magloire
Officials: Monty McCutchen, JT Orr, Violet Palmer
Injury report: Cavs -- Semih Erden (thumb) out; Raptors -- Linas Kleiza (knee) out

* Kyrie Irving will start tonight at point guard. Coach Byron Scott said this morning that Ramon Sessions fits better with the reserves because he will be an experienced veteran on a primarily youthful second unit, while Irving can benefit from the veteran starters.

* All of that is true, but there's also the fact that Irving is the No. 1 pick in the draft and the future of the position. It made perfect sense to start him if he was ready after an abbreviated preseason. From all indications, he's ready.

* Scott still wants Irving to work on his defense. He was beaten off the dribble badly at times in the preseason and putting him with effective defensive communicators like Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker will help him to improve. The Cavs have struggled defending from the point guard position for years.

* Jamaal Magloire tonight will become the first Canadian to play a regular season game for the Raptors. Along those lines, Tristan Thompson, drafted fourth overall by the Cavs, is the highest drafted Canadian-born player in the NBA since the draft lottery began.

* The Raptors do not have a rookie on the roster for the first time in team history. They selected center Jonas Valanciunas one pick after the Cavs took Thompson, but knew when they drafted him he would remain overseas this season. The Raptors did not have a pick in the second round.

* Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan could be on the verge of a breakout season. DeRozan doubled his scoring output last season, jumping to 17.2 points after averaging 8.6 points his rookie season. It was the biggest leap among all second-year players in the league.

* Scott didn't say who his backup center would be tonight, but don't be surprised if it's Samardo Samuels based strictly on preseason performances. Samuels is undersized, but he's powerful and played well in the preseason, while Hollins struggled.

* The complete second unit for the Cavs will likely include Sessions, Daniel Gibson, Alonzo Gee, Thompson and Samuels.

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