Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets: Preseason Game Preview, TV channel, start time

Who's Playing

Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets

Preseason records: Raptors (0-0), Hornets (0-0)

Where to Watch

Date: Saturday, Dec. 12

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: SN (Canada), NBA TV or Fox Sports Southeast (USA)

Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

MORE: Watch live games on your favorite device with NBA League Pass

Game Preview

Basketball is back!

On Saturday, the Toronto Raptors will play their first of three preseason games ahead of the 2020-21 season when they take on the Charlotte Hornets.

Neither the Raptors nor Hornets will likely play their starters much, but there will still be plenty to watch.

On the Hornets side, LaMelo Ball will make his highly anticipated NBA debut. Ball was perhaps the most polarizing player in the 2020 NBA Draft, with some believing he has the potential to be the best player in his class and others believing his questionable jump shot and lack of defence will be his downfall.

This game won't answer all of the questions in Ball's game, but it will be the first opportunity to see him play in the NBA.

MORE: Scouting report on Ball | Breaking down Ball's best and worst game

Additionally, Gordon Hayward will make his Hornets debut.

One of the biggest surprises of the offseason was the Hornets acquiring Hayward in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics. In Charlotte, Hayward will have an opportunity to command an offence like he did in Utah, where he developed into an All-Star. Hayward is coming off of a season in which he averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game with the Celtics. He was one of the best free agents available this offseason.

On the Raptors side, a number of players will be making their debuts with the franchise. Aron Baynes will play his first game with the Raptors, as will Alex Len, DeAndre' Bembry and Malachi Flynn, the No. 29 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Several players will also be looking to prove themselves in the hopes of latching onto Toronto's final roster this season. The list is headlined by Matt Thomas, who has a partial guarantee in his contract for the upcoming season and includes Oshae Brissett, Henry Ellenson, Alize Johnson and Yuta Watanabe.

MORE: Baynes brings shooting and bone-crushing screens to Raptors

Following Saturday's preseason game, the Raptors will take on the Hornets again on Dec. 14 before their final preseason game against the Miami Heat on Dec. 18. They will then open their regular season with a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 23.

Injury Report

The Raptors announced on Saturday that Kyle Lowry has been granted permission to remain in Tampa, Florida while the team travels to Charlotte. He'll miss Saturday's and Monday's game against the Hornets.

Game Notes

  • The No. 3 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, LaMelo Ball spent the 2019-20 season playing for the NBL's Illawarra Hawks. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals on 37.5 percent shooting from the field over 12 games.
  • Devonte' Graham is coming off of a breakout season with the Hornets, in which he averaged 18.2 points and 7.5 assists per game. He received the fourth-most votes for Most Improved Player.
  • Aron Baynes made a total of 59 3-pointers as a member of the Phoenix Suns in the 2019-20 season. That's more than he made in the first seven seasons of his career combined (25).
  • Toronto's biggest move in free agency was re-signing Fred VanVleet to a four-year, $85.0 million contract. VanVleet is coming off of a breakout season himself, posting averages of 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game.
  • The Raptors have four players in ESPN's best players for the 2020-21 season: OG Anunoby (68), VanVleet (40), Kyle Lowry (30) and Pascal Siakam (24).
  • The only player on the Hornets who cracked ESPN's top 100 for the upcoming season was Gordon Hayward (45).

Last Time They Played

Date: Feb. 28, 2020

Score: Hornets 99, Raptors 96

Raptors: Pascal Siakam - 24 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

Hornets: Terry Rozier - 18 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists

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