It’s hard to imagine this series playing out any better than it has so far. The Cleveland Cavaliers took both road games against the Toronto Raptors and just need to take care of business at home in order to pull off a sweep. With their season and pride on the line, it’s fair to assume that this will be a kitchen sink game for Toronto.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (2-0) vs Toronto Raptors (0-2)
When? 8:30 p.m.
Where? Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Where on my eyeballs? ABC
Cavs status update: None to report
Raptors status update: None to report
The Cavs have won 8 straight playoff games against the Toronto Raptors, and have never dropped a home playoff game to them. LeBron James has once again been spectacular, but it’s been the emergence of the supporting cast that has taken the team to another level.
Prioritizing Kevin Love should be the team’s focal point once again. He has a clear matchup advantage either on the perimeter or in the post depending on who is guarding him. Toronto just doesn’t have a player versatile enough defensively to guard Love on all three levels.
In the friendly confines of their home court, it’ll be interesting to see if Tyronn Lue attempts to get some plays called for players that have struggled to this point. Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood have been missing in action, but could both greatly benefit the team once they start getting comfortable.
We’ve seen both players be productive for the Cavs at times this season, but they’ve struggled with their first real taste of playoff pressure. With some of the pressure alleviated, now might be the best time to see if they can be resuscitated.
Outside of that, this is just another opportunity for the trio of LeBron, Love, and George Hill to get some reps in together. They played just 116 minutes together in the regular season, posting a +21.1 net rating in those minutes. That net rating has been a less impressive +9.2 against Toronto, but their play together is still essential to a deep playoff run.
If the Cavs play their game, coupled with the pressure of being down 0-2, it’ll be tough for the Raptors to keep pace on the road.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction:
I think the Raptors will respond to the challenge with a strong offensive showing, but ultimately it won’t be enough to keep pace with Cleveland. Cavs win 124-110.