5 Things to Watch in Cavs-Raptors Game 1
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Keep it Raining
The Cavaliers have been the most lethal team in the NBA in these playoffs (and yes, that includes our old friends out in Oakland), especially beyond the arc, throwing down 16.8 three-pointers per game on 46.2% shooting. The Golden State Warriors were second with 12.2/game. We'll deal with the Warriors later. Right now, it's up to the Cavs to just keep shooting. If they continue to bury treys at a historic rate, the Raptors will obviously have no shot.
LeBron in the Lane
Of course, it helps to have the most physical and talented small forward in the game keeping defenses off balance. LeBron can drive to the hoop at will, and when he'd rather dish than dunk, kick it out to a teammate at the arc. That's been the story in these
playoffs, and his teammates, including Kyrie, Love, J.R., Frye, Jefferson, and Delly...have all come through.
The Raptors have no answer for LeBron. No team has an answer for LeBron. But they will turn to a guy who's defended him before, with some success. DeMarre Carroll was occasionally effective guarding LeBron when Carroll was still with the Atlanta Hawks, although
Carroll suffered a knee injury early in the Conference Finals a year ago, and the Hawks were swept. This time around? "I feel like he's the best player in the world", Carroll told reporters, adding that he's looking forward to the challenge. DeMarre, be careful
what you wish for.
Changing of the Guards
The one area where the Toronto Raptors can turn to for possible success in this series is their backcourt. That's certainly not to suggest that point guard Kyle Lowry will d rop 43 points on the Cavaliers again, as he did in February, but the Raptors' guards
are better than the two previous backcourts the Cavs faced in these playoffs. Lowry and his sidekick DeMar DeRozan combined for 63 points in Toronto's Game 7 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday. They'll need that and more to keep the Raptors competitive in this
Raising the Bismack
Bismack Biyombo is big, physical, and has suddenly become a factor for the Raptors, with starting center Jonas Valanciunas out for at least Game 1 with an ankle injury. Biyombo isn't much of a factor offensively (6.1 ppg), but helps the Raptors run the pick-and-roll
and is effective on the boards, pulling down just under 9 rebounds per game. They'll hope that Biyombo can do what Andre Drummond and Al Horford couldn't: handle Tristan Thompson inside. I wouldn't bet on it.
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