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A new team in a new home: The Raptors compete in the home and season opener tonight against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans

After a championship in 2019 and the bubble in 2020, a brief off-season feels pretty normal for the Toronto Raptors.Nevertheless, it feels a little weird to say that another season is coming up tonight

The Raptors will open their 2020-21 campaign against the New Orleans Pelicans tonight with a lot of strangeness.For one, the home opener won’t be anywhere near home as we got our first look at the regular season at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. (For those who haven’t already, The Athletic’s Blake Murphy gave an excellent glimpse into the team’s transition to their new digs)

Second, two familiar faces have disappeared from Toronto – Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka – and in their place there are more questions than answers, with real basketball providing an opportunity to sort things out in our minds. Aron Baynes becomes the starting center for the Raptors versus New Orleans, and he gets perhaps the most suitable matchup for a stocky, bearded center when he takes on a like-minded player in Steven Adams

However, we already know many faces who will be on trial tonight. Pascal Siakam has a chance to silence the doubters after a poor performance in Orlando this summer. Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby were both showered with money; They are sure to be part of the team core for years to come. Of course, there is Kyle Lowry. Will this be the last season the franchise’s greatest player wears white, red and black? That heartbreaking thought notwithstanding, Lowry Grift and Cantankerousness is set to be a lovely ointment in a 72-game regular season after the 2020 horror show

New or old faces, it’s time to meet the 2020-21 Raptors. Here are the game details for tonight, followed by three things to look out for in the matchup against the Pelicans

Though New Orleans is a national darling climbing into a bubble playoff spot, it stumbled out of the gate in Orlando and never recovered.Instead, it was the Blazers and Grizzlies who made their way to the play-in- Game of the Western Conference There is no doubt, however, that David Griffin did a number of off-season shakeups in view of the postseason

The pelicans’ great hope isn’t centered on Stan Van Gundy, Eric Bledsoe or Steven Adams, however, Zion Williamson can have a full, healthy season The Duke product appeared in just 24 games in its rookie season and never seemed to be full To be game form as the team had to monitor his minutes and keep him out of key moments

Tonight a matchup between Williamson and Pascal Siakam will be a marquee # ProveEm moment for both players. While Siakam was a bit quiet in the preseason, he will feel the pressure early on to show that his game is coming out of stagnation that plagued his blistering pattern For Williamson the questions are well known – how long can he play with maximum strength? Will he be able to maintain the hot pace of his preseason when he averaged 28 – 5 points and 100 rebounds during a perfect 2-0 exhibition?

These two will be fun to watch, and there will undoubtedly be an early prediction from either fan base

Count me of those NBA fans who are a little salty We have no analysis from Stan Van to TNT this season After a honeymoon as Turner’s best color analyst and NBA Twitter’s best Democratic socialist, Van Gundy is back behind a pro bank with the Pelicans

We have yet to see what kind of mark this Pelicans team will make, but we await some of the clearances and descents that were a hallmark of Dwight Howard Magic from early 2010, Van Gundy has the staff for it – Zion Williamson is an incredible threat to the inside while Brandon Ingram, the most improved player of 2019-20, can do a little bit of everything on the fringes

Also watch out for the fit of the new acquisitions Eric Bledsoe, who spent a miserable post-season time living up to expectations, has more of that driving skill JJ Redick is still here to pound an outside Lonzo Ball has a little chip on his shoulder after not getting a rookie extension.How this all comes together for the Pelicans who are going to have a really hard time making the playoffs in the west is going to be fascinating from the start – especially against a Raptors -Defense that has traditionally been superb under Nick Nurse

The Raptors should enjoy their time in Tampa while they have it, as much of their first month will be on the road. Six of the next nine games will be on the road after tonight, including early dates with the Spurs and Sixers before the year is over

There will be some intrigue tonight for that reason alone. How do the Raptors play in the stands with a limited number of fans? Will they work without this suction energy? The weirdness of COVID-19 basketball will permeate much of the first half of the season, but I’m excited to see exactly how this silences the usually rough night for Raptors fans – the home opener where optimism can really make its way

Pelicans versus Raptors

World News – CA – Raptors start their regular season with the Pelicans: preview, start time and more

Source: https://www.raptorshq.com/2020/12/23/22195929/toronto-raptors-vs-new-orleans-pelicans-preview-start-time-injuries-updates