Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors: Lineups, preview & prediction 5/1/18

Pauline Obrien
May 2, 2018

The Cavs and Raptors will meet in the third straight postseason, beginning with Game 1 of their second-round series tonight in Toronto.

The Raptors will be the more rested team, having wrapped up their first-round series against the Washington Wizards in six games on Friday.

In the regular season, Anunoby - who tore his ACL playing for IN in January of 2017 and slipped to the 23rd pick of the draft as a result - emerged as Dwane Casey's primary choice to defend James. There's something about this version of the Raptors which does make it seem very different to what it was over the past 4 years.

I would like to credit myself as my intensity throughout the entire game somehow transferred to James nearly 600 miles away in Cleveland, but I knew that is not true.

James' teammates weren't giving him much help as he was accounting for 60 percent of the total offense in the series, and it wasn't much better this time around, but thankfully for my sanity the Cavaliers were able to come away with the win. But that takes a toll and if LeBron has an off night, then the Cavs are toast. Forced to carry his team in order to advance, he averaged an NBA-best 34.4 points in round one, along with 10 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.4 steals, and a block per game.

Historically speaking, James is one steal away from being the first player in National Basketball Association history to snag 400 steals in postseason play and he's eight rebounds away from becoming just the seventh player in league history to grab 2,000 boards in the playoffs. It's impossible to expect the Cavs to play this poorly again, but when you hear how the Raptors lost two games late in the season to the Cavs remember this game.

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The Raptors new offensive scheme of sharing the wealth has been really good to the Raptors this season. Green also gave the Raptors fits, scoring 15 and heping to limit DeMar DeRozan to 6-of-16 shooting in a Cavs win on March 21, and adding 12 points in a win April 3.

James averaged 36.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the series. Cleveland took the Eastern Conference finals in six games in 2016, and swept the Raptors out of the semifinals last season.

"If y'all don't respect the Indiana Pacers now, I have no respect for you", Oladipo said. Cleveland has the Brooklyn Nets eighth projected pick, which means they can only get better should LeBron stay.

The 33-year-old was going to leave it all on the floor in what some Cleveland fans feared could have been his last game with the franchise.

Elsewhere on Sunday, James Harden scored 41 points as the Houston Rockets secured a dominant 110-96 victory over the Utah Jazz in the first game of their Western Conference semi-final.

Indeed, this was one of the most inspiring runs in recent memory as a team pegged for just one nationally televised game before the season began almost robbed the King of the basketball world of another opportunity to keep his NBA Finals streak alive. "Today, it's just good to see us go out there and play free and execute the game plan and play with energy like we had the whole season". Cleveland's defence? Second worst in the league.

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DeRozan agreed, saying there's "no question" the Raptors are better equipped to face Cleveland than in years past.

Regular-season recap: The Cavs took two of three from the Raptors, both in Cleveland.

This time, however, Toronto is the top-seeded team in the East after a team-record 59-win season.

Cleveland's second unit was a disappointment in the First Round.

James made his first seven shots and finished the first half with 26 points, five assists and four rebounds. Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love appear to be playing through bruises that are affecting their games.

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