Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors

Sun Dec 26 2021 At 6:00 PM

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

One Center Court
Cleveland, Ohio 44115

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Cleveland, OH, 44115

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CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

The Cleveland Cavaliers (often referred to as the Cavs) are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland. The Cavaliers compete in the NationalThe Cleveland Cavaliers (often referred to as the Cavs) are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland. The Cavaliers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division. The team began play as an expansion team in 1970, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves. Home games were first held at Cleveland Arena from 1970 to 1974, followed by the Richfield Coliseum from 1974 to 1994. Since 1994, the Cavs have played home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland, which is shared with the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Dan Gilbert has owned the team since March 2005. The Cavaliers opened their inaugural season losing their first 15 games and struggled in their early years, placing no better than sixth in the Eastern Conference during their first five seasons. The team won their first Central Division title in 1976, which also marked the first winning season and playoff appearance in franchise history, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. The franchise was purchased by Ted Stepien in 1980. Stepien's tenure as owner was marked by six coaching changes, questionable trades and draft decisions, and poor attendance, leading to $15 million in financial losses. The Cavs went 66–180 in that time and endured a 24-game losing streak spanning the 1981–82 and 1982–83 seasons. George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in 1983. During the latter half of the 1980s and through much of the 1990s, the Cavs were a regular playoff contender, led by players such as Mark Price and Brad Daugherty, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992. After the team's playoff appearance in 1998, however, the Cavs had six consecutive losing seasons with no playoff action. Cleveland was awarded with the top overall pick in the 2003 draft, and they selected LeBron James. Behind James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers again became a regular playoff contender by 2005. They made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007 after winning the first Eastern Conference championship in franchise history. After failing to return to the NBA Finals in the ensuing three seasons, James joined the Miami Heat in 2010. As a result, the Cavaliers finished the 2010–11 season last in the conference, enduring a 26-game losing streak, the second-longest in NBA history. Between 2010 and 2014, however, the team won the top pick in the NBA draft lottery three times, first in 2011 where they selected Kyrie Irving, and again in 2013 and 2014. James returned to the Cavs in 2014 and led the team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. In 2016, the Cavaliers won their first NBA Championship, marking Cleveland's first major sports title since 1964. The 2016 NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors marked the first time in Finals history a team had come back to win the series after trailing three games to one. The Cavaliers have 22 playoff appearances, won seven Central Division titles, five Eastern Conference titles, and one NBA title.

TORONTO RAPTORS

The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto. The Raptors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) asThe Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto. The Raptors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. They play their home games at Scotiabank Arena, which they share with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was founded in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies. Since the 2001–02 season, the Raptors have been the only Canadian-based team in the league, as the Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver to Memphis, Tennessee. As with most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft-day trade in 1998, the franchise set league-attendance records and made the NBA playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress, and Carter was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader. For the 2006–07 season, Bryan Colangelo was appointed as general manager, and through a combination of Bosh, 2006 first overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani, and a revamp of the roster, the Raptors qualified for their first playoff berth in five years, capturing the Atlantic Division title. In the 2007–08 season, they also advanced to the playoffs but failed to reach the postseason in each of the next five seasons. Colangelo overhauled the team's roster for the 2009–10 season in a bid to persuade pending free agent Bosh to stay, but Bosh departed to sign with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in yet another era of rebuilding for the Raptors. Masai Ujiri replaced Colangelo in 2013 and helped herald a new era of success, led by a backcourt duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. The Raptors returned to the playoffs the following year and became a consistent playoff team in every year of Ujiri's tenure. Under Ujiri, the team also won five Division titles and registered their most successful regular season in 2018. However, the team's failure to reach the NBA Finals prompted Ujiri to fire head coach Dwane Casey after the 2018 playoffs concluded and conduct the high-profile trade of DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green later that summer, as well as acquiring Marc Gasol before the trade deadline. In the 2019 playoffs, the Raptors won their first Eastern Conference title and advanced to their first NBA Finals, where they won their first NBA championship.

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