Though this series in the East may not seem as appealing as its Western counterpart, I believe it could be relatively competitive. Showcasing three All-Stars, not including Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love, the series definitely has some star-power to boast; it also has a team fighting to return to the Finals and another team making history for their respective franchise. Could be interesting. The LeBron-led Cavaliers have advanced to the conference Finals after sweeping their first two matchups against the young Pistons and a disappointing Hawks team. The Six Gods team on the other hand has gone through two seven games series against the Pacers and Heat, coming out triumphant in both elimination situations. While most think this series will be a breeze for one team,*cough Cleveland *cough, I believe it will be competitive and interesting as the Raptors have come too far to go down without a fight.
Lets delve into this series.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are a team on a mission, a lion-led pride on a hunt, a hunt for the Larry O’Brien trophy. Take the play of the Cavs big three for example; leading their team in every major statistical category save blocks per game, it is obvious these three guys wanna win. Averaging a combined 65 points per game, 23 rebounds, and over 14 assists, Cleveland’s big three is playing at an astounding rate. But can these three beat a team alone? I say no, and they don’t need to; getting 23 points from their bench, along with eight rebounds and six assists, the Cavs bench isn’t terrible, but could be better (ranked 14 out of 16 playoff teams). But as long as the bench guys like J.R. Smith and Dellavadova continue playing to their strengths, like shooting threes (they make about four threes per game at a 46 % clip) and take smart looks (lead all teams still in playoffs in FG %), I think the bench will continue providing Cleveland with a lot of quality minutes. If the starters for Cleveland can maintain their elite level of play and the bench remains focused and ready at all times, I think the Cavs will continue their reign of terror all the way to the West.
Toronto Raptors: Regardless of the outcome of this series, the Raptors have really done something great for their Franchise and Canada as a whole. Reaching the Eastern conference Finals, after not making it out of the first round sine 2001, is a huge accomplishment for a team on the rise. Unfortunately for Raptors fans, I believe extinction is fast approaching this Northern team. I can see Lowry and DeRozan having big games throughout this series, but I don’t think they will be the deciding factors; I’m saving that role for the other three starters on Toronto. DeMarre Carroll (the designated LeBron stopper), Bismack Biyombo (tasked with outrebounding Tristan Thompson), and Patrick Patterson (matched up with a hot Kevin Love), oh yes, these guys are gonna be busy. If Carroll can do his very best on a determined James and force him into making bad passes and taking jump shots, this will allow for more Raptor possessions and a better shot at winning. If the physical Biyombo can up his rebounding (averaging nine in the postseason), I think he will be able to give Thompson a legitimate fight down on low while also helping in reducing offensive possessions for Cleveland. When it comes to Patrick Patterson, his best contribution to the Raptors would be to do his best to get Love into foul trouble, forcing the Cavs into throwing out a modified rotation and lose a great two way player. If all of this works out and the Toronto bench continues playing solid basketball (averaging 27 points on 45 % FG and 13 rebounds), don’t count out the Raptors.
Prediction: I have the well-rested Cavaliers taking this series in five games against a tough Toronto team.
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Stats vis hoopstats.com
Stats via NBA.com