With arguably the greatest offseason in the history of the Toronto Raptors franchise rapidly coming to an end, that means it’s nearly time for real basketball to start up again.

The Raptors reportedly kick off training camp on Sept. 25, and then play the first of their six preseason games four days later when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Vancouver, British Columbia. In all, the Raptors’ exhibition period will last than two full weeks. The team will play their final tune-up on Oct. 11 when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans.

Before you know it, the Raptors’ 2018-19 regular season campaign will have begun. In anticipation of opening night at the now newly renamed Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Oct. 17, Armchair All-Americans analyzed the Raptors’ full 82-game regular season and comprised a list of the team’s 10 must-watch games for the new season.

Game No. 1 Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN (Canada)

Why this is a must-see game:

The first game of every new season is obviously an exciting night. This year’s edition is particularly thrilling given that it will be the first opportunity to see the team’s prized offseason trade acquisition, Kawhi Leonard, play in a meaningful game as a Raptor. The evening will also deliver highly anticipated answers regarding whether or not Leonard is actually healthy and recovered from the quad injury that opened the door for the Raptors to be able to acquire the former San Antonio Spur in the first place.

Game No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics Friday, Oct. 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet ONE (Canada) & ESPN (U.S.)

Why this is a must-see game:

Most of the basketball world, and particularly Jaylen Brown, have already crowned Toronto’s loaded Atlantic Division rivals as the team that will represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals this season. The Raptors get their first crack at Brown and his Boston Celtics teammates just two days into the season. Need I say more?

Game No. 8 Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN & NBA TV (U.S.)

Why this is a must-see game:

Depending on who you ask, the young and talented Philadelphia 76ers are regarded as the second-best team in the East. At worst, they are no lower than third. Also a member of the Atlantic, this will the first of four matchups between Philly and Toronto this season.

Game No. 10 Toronto Raptors @ Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Nov. 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet ONE

Why this is a must-see game:

There are no shortage of storylines that relate to this matchup. First and foremost, the Raptors will take on LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers for the first time ever. Also as equally interesting is the fact that Leonard returns to his hometown and to play the team that most folks expect he’ll wind up signing with in free agency next summer.

Game No. 23 Toronto Raptors vs. Warriors Thursday, Nov. 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET on TSN and TNT (U.S.)

Why this is a must-see game:

The Raptors lost their two outings last season against the supercharged Golden State Warriors by a combined seven points. Favored to win their third straight NBA title, it will be interesting to see how the current version of the Raptors stacks up against them with Leonard in now in the mix.

Game No. 26 Toronto Raptors vs. Pacers Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN

Why this is a must-see game:

With all the discussion about the Eastern Conference centered around the Raptors, Celtics and 76ers, it will be interesting to see whether Victor Oladipo and the upstart Indiana Pacers can continue to take a step forward this season. Also, former Raptor Cory Joseph a member of the Pacers and should once again play an important role for them. Let’s not forget, they pushed James’ Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in their series last postseason.

Game No. 33 Toronto Raptors @ San Antonio Spurs Thursday, Jan. 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet ONE and TNT

Why this is a must-see game:

This is the game that Raptors fans, and likely many NBA fans in general, had circled shortly after team schedules were released in August. This evening will be an emotional one, as former Raptors DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl go up against their old squad for the first time ever, and in turn, Leonard and Danny Green do the same. The likelihood of a downpour of boos raining down in AT&T Center when Leonard is introduced alongside his Raptors teammates along with whenever he touches the ball cannot be overstated.

Game No. 44 Toronto Raptors @ Houston Rockets Friday, Jan. 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET on TSN and ESPN

Why this is a must-see game:

The Houston Rockets, who came within a game last season of knocking off the Warriors and reaching the Finals, should once again be amongst the league’s best teams. It also bears watching to see if Carmelo Anthony, who signed with Houston this offseason, can disapprove the abundance of critics that believe that the 34-year-old is over the hill.

Game No. 53 Toronto Raptors vs. San Antonio Spurs Friday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m. ET on TSN and ESPN

Why this is a must-see game:

For all the same reasons as listed above for the first matchup, but even more so as this game will see DeRozan make his return to Toronto. This is also the second and final time that the two teams will meet during the regular season.

Game No. 62 Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, Mar. 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet ONE and TNT

Why this is a must-see game:

For fans that enjoyed watching James play in Toronto multiple times over the course of a season, that unfortunately is no more. With the four-time MVP now in the West, this game will be the only visit James makes to Toronto this season, of course, barring an unlikely meeting between Toronto and Los Angeles in the Finals.

Content Creator at Armchair Toronto Raptors , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC’
My life as a sports fan growing up revolved around football – mostly of the NFL variety. I watched a fair amount of NBA basketball, but I lived and breathed football. It was my first love, and the only sport I ever played in an organized team setting. As I got to my adult years, I started to develop an appreciation for all sports – after all, the NFL season doesn’t last all year round. Fast forward to 2018, and the NBA, more specifically the Toronto Raptors, have now taken over as my top sporting interest. As a Toronto native, it fuels me to witness firsthand just how passionate Raptors fans and Canadians as a whole are about their team. That combined with how entertaining the NBA is both on and off the court, has me hooked.
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Content Creator at Armchair Toronto Raptors , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC’
My life as a sports fan growing up revolved around football – mostly of the NFL variety. I watched a fair amount of NBA basketball, but I lived and breathed football. It was my first love, and the only sport I ever played in an organized team setting. As I got to my adult years, I started to develop an appreciation for all sports – after all, the NFL season doesn’t last all year round. Fast forward to 2018, and the NBA, more specifically the Toronto Raptors, have now taken over as my top sporting interest. As a Toronto native, it fuels me to witness firsthand just how passionate Raptors fans and Canadians as a whole are about their team. That combined with how entertaining the NBA is both on and off the court, has me hooked.

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