Dwane Casey and the Toronto Raptors were looking to even the series at home in Game 2 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but instead, they ended up getting blown out once again. It was a sobering loss for the Raptors, who now face a 2-0 series deficit heading back to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.
James and the Cavaliers trailed by two at halftime, but won the third quarter 37-24 and never looked back. Toronto had no answer for James on the defensive end of the court, giving up 43 points to “The King.” Drake and the rest of the fans couldn’t believe their eyes.
In addition to James’ big performance, the Cavaliers received a big performance from Kevin Love. He scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to record the big performance that Cleveland has been hoping to see from him throughout the entire postseason.
Toronto, on the other hand, was led by DeMar DeRozan with 24 points. Kyle Lowry chipped in 21 points for the Raptors to go along with eight assists. Jonas Valanciunas and Fred VanVleet rounded out the double-digit scorers for Toronto with 16 and 14 respectively.
This series is far from over, but the Raptors have to figure things out on the road in Cleveland. They have not had much success at Quicken Loans Arena, but will have to find a way to win two games on the road in order to win the series.
All of that being said, what three things can the Raptors take away from their Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers?
Toronto Will Have to Double-Team LeBron
Unlike the Indiana Pacers in round one, the Raptors do not have anyone that can stick with and pester LeBron. Indiana was able to throw Bojan Bogdanovic, Lance Stephenson, and sometimes Thaddeus Young at James, while the Raptors have found no success with OG Anunoby, DeRozan, or Pascal Siakam. If they are unable to find success with the double-team, Cleveland could end up sweeping this series.
Getting to the Foul Line Is a Must
A big part of the reason for the loss was the Raptors’ lack of aggressiveness and not getting to the foul line. Toronto shot just 11 foul shots in the game and made 10 of them. Cleveland ended up knocking down 17 of their 23 attempts from the free-throw line.
Serge Ibaka Must Find a Way to Slow Love Back Down
If the Raptors want to come back in this series, they simply cannot allow Love to score 31 points to support James. Cleveland has struggled when James didn’t have a lot of help, but 31 points is not going to cut it. Serge Ibaka needs to take this game to heart and come back ready to play lockdown defense on Love in Game 3.