Published: Wed, May 02, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Five Keys: Cavaliers at Raptors - Game 1

Five Keys: Cavaliers at Raptors - Game 1

DeRozan bounced back to score 37 points in Game 3 at Air Canada Centre, but the Cavs still overwhelmed the Raptors, 115-94.

James is not used to such adversity in the first round. They can not match the Pacers' youth and tenacity.

The Cavs played well against the Raptors in the regular season, winning two-of-three matchups including the most recent two.

He and the Cavaliers will now have a grand total of one day off before returning to battle.

The Pacers series underscored the Cavaliers' major weaknesses including inconsistent rotations, lack of a dependable second scorer, and an over-reliance on number 23. Dwayne Wade (13th) is third among active players with 273. The following year the Raptors won 51 games, then again, they were no match against the Cavs who destroyed them in four games.

At 6-8, 230 pounds, Anunoby is one of the only players on the Raptors who comes close to matching up physically with LeBron.

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When Lue made his first lineup change of this series, he turned back to JR Smith and Kyle Korver, two of the five players on this team who played in the 2017 Finals. I don't scream and yell during a random Cardinals' game in May. Against the Pacers, he averaged 34.4 points, 10 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game. That kind of thing can give the Raptors an edge, but it can lead to a tense crowd. The Cavs ran a Larry Nance-LeBron James pick-and-roll combo with great effect for most of the first round, and they could actually do a better job against the Raptors who will often have slow-footed Valanciunas and Poetl on the floor playing center.

The bulk of the Raptors' roster that was swept by James' Cavaliers last season remains in place, but the rotation has changed, with youngsters Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl emerging as integral role players after earning only sporadic minutes previous year, while being joined by newcomer C.J. That relates to what seems to be the key for the young Raptor: his positioning, which forces opponents into more hard shots. Kyle Korver ranked sixth in the National Basketball Association in three-point accuracy, Hill shot a league-best 45% before the all-star break, J.R. Smith, Jordan Clarkson and Jose Calderon can heat up and Love is always a threat, though his offence has been thrown off by a partially-torn ligament in his thumb. Toronto was nearly an afterthought, the distant third-best team in the conference and cannon fodder for either the Celtics or Cavaliers once either met the Raptors in the playoffs. The Raptors have home court advantage.

He's heading to Toronto, bringing a Cavaliers team that isn't done yet. Celebrated the 42nd anniversary of the "Miracle at Richfield" in 1976, when the Cavs defeated the Washington Bullets in Game 7 of the conference semifinals.

The departure of Kyrie Irving from the Cavs' ranks last summer makes this a much more even series than the last two. A LeBron-led team has yet to lose a first-round series in his brilliant career.

The gameplan for Cleveland starts and ends with LeBron James.

Hill's return was critical for the Cavs, not only in Game 7 but going forward. There is no point worrying, "How far can LeBron carry the Cavs?" as so many think pieces are trying to determine. Mostly, they know what's ahead of them. "They're a more well-balanced team this year, and they showed it in their record, in their ability to win games, and they showed why they're the No. 1 team in the East".

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