We knew this was coming. But when we see it, its still amazing. The Cleveland Cavs are so far superior to the Toronto Raptors its insane & their blowout on Thursday night in Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, 108-89, reiterates that idea.
LeBron James had a triple-double, having 23 points, 11 rebounds & 11 assists & Kyrie Irving had another big night with 26 points, but instead of just the stats, the bigger story here was how the Cavs completely locked down the Raptors on defense, so much that the Raptors always seemed like they were committing offensive fouls or missing shots that would lead to fastbreak opportunities leading to fouls, & even though LeBron missed a ton of free throws, the Cavs were put in position for succeeding. The Cavs had over twice the amount of free throws to the Raptors, 37-16, with LeBron having 18 himself.
There isn’t much to say about this game, except that the one area where Cleveland needs to improve – well, actually LeBron – is the free throw shooting, which got so bad at point that James missed 7 consecutive FTs during the game, a stat that can not continue when the NBA Finals get here. We say that in strong certainty because the Cavs are going to the NBA Finals, guaranteed statement right here.
Where the Cavs have done a great job is taking Kyle Lowry & DeMar Derozan out of the series by making them commit fouls & become a jump shooting duo. Derozan has played okay during the series with 22 points tonight but he has had a variety of defenders (LeBron, Kyrie Irving & at times, Kevin Love) on him to make his points incredibly difficult to come by. Kyle Lowry looks incredibly lost during the first two games. He finished with only 10 points & 6 rebounds during the game, an unacceptable performance if the Raptors were going to have any chance in this series.
The Cavs are making the Raptors role players have to make big plays & so far, that has not been the case. The Cavs are turning missed opportunities at offense for the Raptors into easy baskets or trips to the free throw line, again & again – almost a completely different game style than the 3-point barrage used in the semifinals against Atlanta.
Normally, we would give a preview for game 3, but it is truly the basic idea of get ready for the Raptors best blow because they will be energized by the home crowd, especially because it is the first ECF game in Toronto in the team’s history. After that run, everything will come back down to Earth a bit.
Ho hum……..another victory & another chance to get guys rested, preparing for that 4-game sweep.