We saw this coming. Toronto saw this coming. Anyone who knows anything about NBA basketball saw this coming, especially if you have heard the comments from Kyle Lowry & other Raptor players ever since Sunday’s win against the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals.
LeBron James will not take a slight to absolutely anyone. Tonight he showed why he is one of the greatest players of this generation & why we do believe that the Cavs are going to cruise straight to the NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavs absolutely destroyed the Raptors by 31 points, the largest playoff victory for the team in its history. What is even crazier is that the Cavs could have played so much better, especially with their 3-point proficiency.
Toronto definitely had a chance to make it a game early, as they led by 7 during the first quarter but once the Cavs made a strong 25-point swing in the second quarter, a time when the Raptors missed 11 consecutive field goals, the game – and possibly the series – was completely a wrap.
LeBron was 11-13 from the field, with 24 points & 7 rebounds. His partner in crime, Kyrie Irving, had 27 points tonight & showed off moves that would make Uncle Drew jealous.
The Cavs showed no rust from their 9-day layoff & showed that they are ready for a major run to the Finals. They looked as though they wanted to completely demoralize the Raptors early in this series & it looks like they may have done it.
But, are we really surprised? Not really. Keep in mind, Cleveland had the skill to do this last year until Kevin Love got injured early in the playoffs & Kyrie Irving was hurt during game 1 of the NBA Finals against Golden State. This year, everyone is healthy & getting along well, which will not bode well for the Raptors and whoever the Cavs will play in the NBA Finals.
We know we are completely disregarding the Raptors & anything they can or have the ability to do against Cleveland, but they have had two grueling 7-game series & have literally had 48 hours to get ready for one of the best teams in the league & one of the greatest players of all time.
In game 2, we expect more of the same, possibly much more. If the Raptors are to have any chance in the series, they will need to come out very hungry & fast, taking the game to Cleveland, and dictating the pace, as opposed to having the pace and physicality dictated to them. The combination of Kyle Lowry & DeMar Derozan must do more in order to keep this series competitive. Combined, the two had 26 points tonight, with the next highest scorer only having 12 points in Bismarck Biyombo.
Along with better offensive production, the Raptors will have to be able to rotate much better to close out on the Cavs shooters, particularly J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavadova & Iman Shumpert – three guys who have the ability to knock down three-point shots at a high efficiency. The Cavs know that they can attack the paint with LeBron & Kyrie can hit the three-pointers and hit from mid-range, but the Raptors will looks to close out the middle much more in game 2 due to LeBron being able to feast in the paint all night long. If the Raptors don’t rotate & think of the game inside out as opposed to inside in, the Cavs will continue to burn them again & again.
Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night at 8:30 on ESPN.