Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Series Preview

Tonight, former foes will play against each year the Toronto Raptors will battle the NBA Champions Cleveland Cavaliers. Last year they met up and the Cavs got the best of the Raptors in six games.This year might be a little because of its a completely different roster for the Raptors.


Stats

Season series: Cavs won the season series 3-1 (2-0 in Toronto)

Oct. 28 @ Tor  Cavs 94, Raptors 91
Nov. 15 @ Cle Cavs 121, Raptors 117
Dec. 5 @ Tor Cavs 116, Raptors 112
Apr. 12 @ Cle Raptors 98, Cavs 83

Pace: 96.9
CLE OffRtg: 106.0 (11th vs. TOR)
TOR OffRtg: 108.6 (16th vs. CLE)

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

First round: Cavs beat the Pacers in four games
Pace: 97.6 (7)
OffRtg: 115.9 (2)
DefRtg: 111.0 (13)
NetRtg: +4.9 (5)

First round: Raps beat the Bucks in six games
Pace: 92.5 (11)
OffRtg: 101.5 (14)
DefRtg: 100.7 (2)
NetRtg: +0.8 (7)

Image result for Dwane Casey 2017

 

Playing small

Ever since the Raptors got exposed during Game 3 against the Bucks Dwane Casey decided to make a serious change in the starting line. He decided to put Norman Powell in and sit Jonas Valanciunas on the bench in order to match up with the energy of the Bucks.Then the next three games the Raptors were a completely different team. Norman Powell has unlimited potential he scored a playoff career high with 25 points in Game 5.

Image result for pj tucker raptors

Versatile

Stopping LeBron is easier said than done. If the Raptors want to win the series, they have to contain him because he can’t stop. Therefore you could see Norman Powell, PJ Tucker, Demarre Carroll and Patrick Patterson will all have the opportunity to stop LeBron James.

Image result for Kyle Lowry injured back 2017 playoffs

Kyle Lowry Health

This is not getting enough coverage Lowry’s health status because he is clearly not 100%. Lowry is the most valuable Raptor on the team, even though DeMar DeRozan is finally playing at an elite level on a nightly basis. The Raptors will only go as far as Lowry takes them because whenever he plays horrible they always lose. In addition he will have a serious problem guarding Kyrie Irving and if he can’t do an effective job he will have a long series.

Image result for Norman Powell 2017 playoffs bucks

X-Factors

Raptors

Norman Powell
Serge Ibaka
Jonas Valanciunas
Corey Joseph

Image result for Cavs Big 3 2017 pacers playoffs

Cavs

Kyrie Irving
Kevin Love
Tristan Thompson
JR Smith
Kyle Korver

Conclusion

This will be a difficult series to predict because I truly believe it’s a coin flip. That being said I am picking the Cavs in 6 games, However, the Raptors, if locked in, could give the Cavs a lot of match up problems.

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Stats were provided by John Schuhmann of the NBA

Photos via NBA, TSN, City News, National Post, USA Today

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