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- Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, will start at point guard ahead of veteran Ramon Sessions. Though Cleveland coach Byron Scott didn’t announce the move until game day, he said starting Irving was “pretty easy, when you think about putting him out there with veterans who can help him adjust like A.P. (Anthony Parker), Andy (Anderson Varejao), and Antawn (Jamison).” Irving averaged 16.0 points and 3.0 assists in the preseason.
- Raptors center Aaron Gray (rapid heartrate) traveled with the team, but is being held out of the game for “very precautionary reasons,” according to general manager Bryan Colangelo. Coach Dwane Casey said Gray’s heart “fluttered on him in practice” on two occasions during the past week, prompting Toronto’s front office to seek additional medical advice before returning him to the court. Gray was signed as a free agent on Dec. 11.
- The Raptors’ starting lineup is center Amir Johnson, power forward Andrea Bargnani, small forward Rasual Butler, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, and point guard Jose Calderon. Casey gave Butler the nod at the three over James Johnson because he was a “steady Eddie.”
- The Cavaliers are starting small forward Omri Casspi with Irving, shooting guard Parker, power forward Jamison, and center Varejao.
- When he enters the game, center Jamaal Magloire will become the first native Canadian to play for Toronto.
- Inactive for Cleveland were center Semih Erden (right thumb fracture) and guard Mychel Thompson, while the Raptors did not dress forward Linas Kleiza (right knee surgery) and Gray.
– Brian Dulik