The Toronto Raptors have a lot of pressure on their shoulders. They are in the second round of playoffs, and they are facing the Cleveland Cavaliers – the team that knocked them out last year, breaking hearts around Toronto. However, Toronto fans show up for every game, and they are ready to see their team win, even if it means they are going to play all the way to game 7. However, there is a long road ahead if the Toronto Raptors want to stand victorious over LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Even though there is a lot of work ahead, fans stand with their team. They show up in Jurassic Park – a space dedicated for fans to watch the game outside of the ACC center – and cheer on their Raptors even when the team is on the road. And these fans strongly believe that the Toronto Raptors can win this series. However, what is required to make that happen?
There needs to some discussion about the team’s defense. Sure, they managed to fight back and closing the large gap earlier in the game, losing only with less than 20 points. However, the defense is one of the reasons why the Cavaliers got ahead during the first quarter. According to a CBC report, the pressure lies on Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to make the defense work. The defense needs to show more tenacity if they want to beat LeBron. After last night’s game, it is clear that he isn’t ready to give up and give the Toronto Raptors a break.
Another major issue that surfaced for the Raptors was James’ response to rebounds. When Cleveland got the ball for a rebound, they reacted so fast that the Raptors barely had time to acknowledge what had happened. James and his players had clearly practiced a few things because it operated like an oiled machine. And the Toronto Raptors were clearly not ready for LeBron’s powerful return to the court after beating out Indiana.
One thing that Cleveland managed to pull off well was the 3-point shots. And while the Toronto Raptors are not strangers to getting some 3-point shots to keep up with their opponents, it just seemed like nothing was really working last night.
To win against the Cavaliers, the Toronto Raptors need to utilize Norman Powell more than they are. And head coach Dwane Casey knows that he is a key player to win this series. He has already addressed Powell in his post-game commentary to the media.
“He’s the X-factor,” Casey has said about Powell, according to CBC, adding, “So many times you’re so concerned about DeMar [DeRozan] and Kyle [Lowry], rightfully so, that that next spark plug, that next guy, the next instigator is the guy.”
And one of the most important things that the Raptors need to work on to bring home another series win to Toronto is containing LeBron James. He is clearly a huge threat to both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, as they struggled to control him last night. If they can find a way to limit him while he’s on offense, then there’s a chance for the Toronto Raptors to take this one home.
Fans in Toronto are ready to win over Cleveland, but after last night’s game, many fans do think that this year could be a repeat of last year, especially since the series went all the way to Game 7 before the Raptors were eliminated. And this is something Toronto is hoping will change this year.
Do you think Toronto Raptors have a legit chance of winning against the Cleveland Cavaliers? Or do you think LeBron James and the Cavs will steal this series once again?
[Featured Image by Jason Miller/Getty Images]