NBA Odds: Celtics Road Underdogs Against Kawhi Leonard, Raptors

Speaking ahead of their season opener today against the Raptors in Toronto, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said the key to Love playing at his best is to get him angry.

"So we know there's a really good team coming in here, healthy, and I know they're looking forward to this game also".

As his soggy sandals squished across the carpeted floor inside the visitor's locker room at Scotiabank Arena, Love quipped about needing extra time to "wash all the ugliness away" before heading to the team bus and embarking on Cleveland's next challenge. The second-round sweep last spring was the final straw for team president Masai Ujiri, who fired coach Dwane Casey and then unceremoniously jettisoned DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl to the Spurs for Leonard and Danny Green.

Love, a 10-year veteran who won an National Basketball Association title with Cleveland in 2015-16, has changed his game for the better and is still one of the best power forwards in the league.

In Toronto, Leonard's quad looked just fine.

Ibaka was rolling on both ends of the court before he was taken out, and while Nurse may have planned on calling JV's number late in the game, it didn't take long for him to change his mind.

Kawhi Leonard did not get off to a great start by any stretch of the imagination. "There were a lot of whistles, a lot of stoppage, we sent them to the line a little bit too much and gave up a few too many offensive rebounds".

"I think everybody up and down the league is in agreement that they're the best team in the East, right?"

"It's good to get it done".

"It's pretty cool", Nurse said.

In Houston, where Anthony linked up with pals Chris Paul and James Harden to offer yet another offensive option (albeit a redundant one) to the Rockets, it was not a smooth start.

One negative on the night: the Raptors lost Anunoby early in the fourth quarter with an orbital contusion.

Leonard missed his first three shot attempts but made three of his next four to score a team-high six points in the opening quarter. In 34 minutes of playing time, he racked up 21 points on 5-of-18 shooting from the field (1-of-4 from beyond the arc), seven rebounds, and two assists.

  • Steve Townsend