Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Jamal Magloire
Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, Anthony Parker, Omri Casspi, Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao

Welcome, Raptors fans. This will be my ninth season covering the Raptors on this blog — yes, I took some time off somewhere in the mid-2000s, but let’s not split hairs. Unlike any other season I can recall, I’m going into this one with the full knowledge and acceptance that the Raptors will be one of the worst teams in the National Basketball Association. I have not only accepted that fate, I’ve made peace with it — and so should you.

Just because the Raptors are probably going to finish with one of the worst records in the league this season, that doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun. For me, the joy in these games will be watching the progress of the Raptors’ young players and in watching some of the exciting stars and prospects on the Raptors’ opponents. With the Raptors’ first opponent of the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers, I’m looking forward to the NBA debuts of first overall pick Kyrie Irving and Brampton, Ontario’s own Tristan Thompson.

I’m not planning on having a set form or function for these game threads this season. In last season’s game threads, I did a “Five Questions” piece for each game that was supposed to make things easier but actually ended up being kind of a grind for certain games that had no real drama due to the sad state of the teams involved. Even the pregame music video was a pain in the ass because I usually tried to make it relevant to the Raptors’ opponents or the city they were in, and that sometimes took longer than it reasonably should have.

This season, I’m freestylin’ it. Sometimes, I’ll write about the game in here, sometimes I might rant about something completely unrelated. I’ll put the relevant game info at the top so you can see it right away, and if you don’t want to read through whatever nonsense I’m spewing out on that particular day, you can scroll down and give your thoughts in the comments before and during the game. I think Joseph Casciaro — who has pretty much taken over this blog, as you might have noticed — is going to publish a recap post after most games. I’ve encouraged him to freestyle those posts as well.

The way I see it, this season is one we simply have to endure together, as Raptors fans. I’m not going to make this any more difficult on myself than I need to, and hopefully you’ll stick around for the bumpy ride. One thing I will try to offer you is some pre-game laughs with a funny video I’ll include at the end of each of those posts. We’ll certainly need the laughs this season.

Since Irving and Thompson will be performing auditions of a sort tonight, here’s one of my favorite sketches from the awesome Mr. Show with Bob and David. If you’re not familiar with this show, it was a sketch comedy show that ran on HBO from 1995 to 1998 and it’s been hugely influential to a lot of comedy writers and performers, including TheScore’s own Basketball Jones. I’ll probably be going to this well a lot this season, since they have a lot of classic sketches that have held up well over time.

Note: I won’t always tweet during Raptors games, since I’m often required to PVR the games and watch them later. I will be live-tweeting tonight’s opener, so feel free to follow me @scottcarefoot if you’re not doing so already.