The Cavaliers completely demoralized the Raptors team and fanbase in their first two games in Cleveland. DeMar DeRozan has offered $100 to anybody who can stop LeBron, though honestly I think he was sort of low-balling everyone. You can do better than that, DeMar.
The Raptors, on the court, might not be able to do better than that, but if they’re going to make this a series, not unlike last year, it’ll have to start in Game 3.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors Game 3
When: Friday, 7 PM ET
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada
Where to watch: ESPN
What to Watch for:
- DeMar DeRozan was held to just five points in Game 2, and you’d imagine the Raptors are going to work really hard to get him clean looks. Toronto hasn’t figured out a way to beat the Cavaliers hard traps on the high pick and roll, and given the limitations of Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMarre Carroll and P.J. Tucker creating out of the short roll, they miiiight be out of luck.
- It’d be nice to see Kyrie Irving’s jump shot return. He’s shooting 28.3 percent from distance in six games so far in the Playoffs. He’s certainly making up for it elsewhere, hitting double digit assists in Games 1 and 2. The Cavaliers are obviously equipped to win even if he’s not shooting well, but he’ll have to be the shot-making dynamo we know and love in a prospective Finals series against the Warriors.
- Tristan Thompson looks like he’s really enjoyed his rest. Per FTS’ Mike Zavagno:
The Cavs have a 96.5 dRTG in the 192 minutes Tristan Thompson has played in this year's playoffs— Mike Zavagno (@MZavagno11) May 4, 2017
- Thompson also has the team’s best net rating in the postseason, and it’s visually very obvious why. He’s doing a better job on the boards and has been an absolute terror on defense, switching with ease onto the Raptors guards and stone-walling their bigs at the hoop. Jonas Valanciunas has no chance on him in the post in this series, and his skillset is perfect for the scheme Tyronn Lue is currently employing.
- No individual Cavalier role player has really stood out offensively over the course of the entire postseason, and this is probably a good thing. Everybody is playing their role and not going outside of what they do well. Teams have also preferred to stick their shooters unbelievably closely, and that’s okay. It’s part of why LeBron James is shooting about 94 percent from the field so far in these playoffs.
- J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are playing their best basketball of the season against Toronto, and they’re absolutely killing the Raptors. J.R.’s volume has never really hit critical mass this year, but he’s been so good defensively in this series that it hasn’t mattered.