LeBron James has owned Raptors but they have defensive options

02 May, 2018, 02:06 | Author: Bennie Parsons
  • Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors, 5-1-2018 - Expert Prediction

The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers second-round series is becoming one of the most anticipated playoff matchups in recent memory.

While Cleveland had to go the distance to escape the first round, Toronto managed to put things away in Game 6, becoming the first road team to earn a win in the series. Many have argued Cleveland was outplayed by IN and it took James' heroics to squeak by.

LeBron James propelled the Cavs to victory in Game 7 of their first round series against the Indiana Pacers, and it took every ounce of energy he had.

"I'm not saying he's a lying man but I don't think he's exhausted", Casey said.

Single game tickets for Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland for the Cavaliers second-round matchup against the Toronto Raptors go on sale on Tuesday. "At the end of the day we've all got to D one as a team, lock in on individual players, team-wise show LeBron as many bodies as we can", DeRozan said.

The Cavaliers won their way into the second round by defeating the Indiana Pacers in seven games with LeBron James producing 45 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while playing 43 minutes in the decisive game Sunday.

None of his team-mates scored more than 20 points in any of the seven matches against in while James averaged 41.1 minutes and 34.4 points per game.

James scored more than 40 points in three of Cleveland's four wins. Or past year, when the Cavs got a week off while waiting for Toronto to complete a six-game victory over Milwaukee in the opening round.

Everything seemed to click for the Raptors this season.

One way this is positive in that the Cavs didn't win by as much in 2017 as they did in 2016. DeMar DeRozan is their man, and in Game 2 against the Wizards he scored a playoff career high 37. If James decides to post Anunoby up, the rookie could be in trouble, because he has allowed 1.00 point per direct post-up this season, which is below league average.

LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers are the Raptors nemesis. Cleveland could still be in Toronto's heads after winning the teams' last two meetings, when James averaged 31.5 points and 11.5 assists and made 58% of his shots.

The Raptors are significantly better on offense than the Indiana Pacers. Fred VanVleet had played just three minutes in the series (Game 2) due to a shoulder injury but got in 19 on Friday and was plus-12. GS leads series 1-0. In last year's four-game sweep, Love doubled-up in Game 3 with 16 points and 14 boards but was held pretty much in check in the rest of the series.

"We started the game with a unit that we knew", James said Sunday. "This is the year, this a different Raptors team - they're going to win this series". The 15-year veteran shredded the Pacers defense on his way to 45 points to carry his team to the next round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

This transformation, more than any other, marks the biggest difference between this Raptors team and the one Cleveland's faced in the previous two years.

The Cavs will need more than they got from James' supporting cast to go further in the playoffs.

Harden, who also had seven assists and eight rebounds, picked up where he left off in the regular season against the Jazz when he averaged 34.3 points, led by a 56-point performance in a 137-110 win in November. Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love appear to be playing through bruises that are affecting their games.


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