Cavaliers versus Raptors series recap: Toronto didn’t have a chance

Cavaliers versus Raptors series recap: Toronto didn’t have a chance
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Lebron James and Kyrie Irving brought an end to Toronto’s playoff dreams after just four games in the Cavaliers versus Raptors series.

Judging by last season, people were expecting the Cavaliers versus Raptors series to be competitive. Turns out, Lebron James and company had other plans. Cleveland finally put the Raptors out of their misery in Game 4 with Kyrie Irving leading the way. With that said, how did the Cavaliers take care of business against Toronto? Additionally, what happened to the Raptors this season? How could a team that pushed the Cavs to 7 games in the ECF last year, get blanked this year?

The Cavaliers have been dominant

To say Cleveland has been dominant in the playoffs is an understatement. The team has been competing on a whole different level since the start of these playoffs. The Cavaliers versus Raptors series sweep is more than evidence of that. On offense, they’ve simply been unstoppable behind Lebron James. The former 4-time regular season MVP is currently averaging 34.4 points, 9 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks. More importantly, he’s been orchestrating the Cavaliers offense on a nightly basis.

Defensively, the Cleveland still aren’t where they want to be. Remember how they couldn’t seem to defend in the last couple of games in the regular season? Well, that’s more or less what’s happening now. The thing is though, their offense more than makes up for any of their defensive deficiencies. Consider this, in the Cavaliers versus Raptors series, their defensive rating was 104.5. They were allowing the Raptors to score more than a hundred points per game. However, that didn’t matter because their ridiculous 120.3 offensive rating canceled this out.

The Raptors were overmatched

Early in the season, a lot of pundits decried how stale the Raptors’ offense was. It literally just involved the team looking for DeMar DeRozan and watching him work. While productive, Kyle Lowry found himself hampered with injuries all season long. There were moves to make the lineup better but those were on the defensive end. P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka gave another dimension to Toronto’s defense on the perimeter and the paint respectively. However, the Raptors rarely relied on them on offense.

The Cavaliers versus Raptors series was a reflection of Toronto’s struggles in the regular season. DeMar DeRozan was at his usual inefficient self and put up a total of 68 shots in the series. Of those 68 shots, only 3 were from behind and the arc while the rest were drives or mid-range jumpers. What’s even more egregious was that his FG% only amounted to 42.6%. DeRozan finished the series with averages of 20.8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. A far cry from his averages in the regular season.

What’s next after the Cavaliers versus Raptors series?

For Cleveland, it’s going to be a long wait for the winner of the Celtics versus Wizards series. And considering the age of most of their players, I’m pretty sure that the Cavs are more than happy for the rest. With that said, they will also have to do their homework in scouting the other Eastern Conference semi finals series. Both Boston and Washington could potentially challenge Cleveland thanks to their personnel. Unlike the Raptors, the Celtics and Wizards feature shooters and skilled big men. In addition, they have multiple defenders who can take on Lebron James. Of course, whether these are enough to stop the defending champs is still up in the air.

On the other hand, Toronto finds itself back to the drawing board after the sweep. The Cavaliers versus Raptors series has exposed their lack of depth outside of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. What’s worse, there are reports coming out of Toronto that Lowry might test the waters of free agency. If this is true, then general manager Masai Ujiri will have a long summer ahead. Keeping this young Raptors core will be a priority. However, he might not be able to do so. With big name big men rumored to be moving there are options on the table. Honestly, I feel like the Raptors are a power forward away from truly contending in the East. With that said, the team will find itself limited by the massive contract that they gave DeRozan last summer.


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