Capsule preview of the Raptors-Cavaliers series

NBA Playoffs 2017 Updates, Predictions: Cavaliers Complete Sweep; Pacers Eliminated

DeRozan, who averaged just 1.7 3-point attempts a game and shot.266 from behind the arc, connected at an.842 clip at the line.

The Raptors took the Cavaliers to six games in the team's first-ever conference final appearance last season. That is a lot of points given up but fortunately for the Raptors, they are second in these playoffs in their defensive rating with 100.7.

Best of all, the four-time NBA MVP is having a blast even with the rigorous training. Unfortunately, it's not the Lowry of the mid-season.

Kerr is suffering from a long time back injury and he postponed his back surgery in 2015 while he waited for the offseason past year to have the procedure done. But in this series, I played a lot of minutes, and I felt great. The Cavs series will not be anything like it.

You can try to stop LeBron if you want, but that's a fool's errand. LeBron will make a plethora of highlight plays and probably have a few signature slams. While it's a different strategy, it didn't work.

LeBron James averaged 43.7 minutes per game in the Cleveland Cavaliers' first round series against the Indiana Pacers. "Definitely shooters with both him and [Patrick] Patterson out there". On one hand he's the ideal kind of guy to guard Kevin Love, but on the other hand, he had a lot of trouble staying on the court against the Bucks. Keeping Lowry and DeRozan off the stripe is the top priority.

The Cavs had a similar, one-week break between the first and second rounds last season.

Edmonton Oilers Defeat The Anaheim Ducks In Game One
Josh Manson almost put the Ducks ahead 2-0 when he rushes Talbot, but Edmonton got a handle on the game, thanks to power plays. From the Ducks' perspective, the biggest positive may be the fact that they got Cam Fowler back in the lineup.

One key piece to the Raptors winning games 3 and 4 a year ago was the presence of Bismack Biyombo in the paint.

But it's the Raptors who have to put up some numbers to take some pressure off the guards and keep the Cavs honest. Multiple team sources told ESPN that James tried to plead his case to stay in the game when being subbed out briefly at the end of the third quarter of Game 4. The coaches used tapes of the opener to reinforce the points they had been making for much of the season - the defense was sloppy. "Doesn't mean I'm going to be able to win a road game in this series".

Let's review what James did in the first round. Cleveland does have Tristan Thompson who has been playing a good role in the paint and at power forward for the team, but guys like Love and Jefferson will have to contest DeMar DeRozan's shots consistently. The Raptors bring forth a charge, but too much offensive firepower gives Cleveland a Game 1 victory. They went 38-45-3 ATS overall and 19-21-3 at home. Perhaps the biggest change was the fact that Love was using 26.5 percent of the team's possessions when on the court, a full three percentage points better than at any other point as a Cavalier.

After sweeping IN in the opening round, the Cavs will have waited a full week before Monday's Game 1 tips off at Quicken Loans Arena, where Cleveland is 15-1 against conference opponents over the past three postseasons.

The rest could be particularly helpful to LeBron James, who leads all players in the playoffs with 43.8 minutes per game. This suggests that the difference between teams has been significantly reduced, which might be true trying to compare two seasons, but not quite judging at the current situations.

A LeBron-led team has won the Eastern Conference six years in a row. Lowry, whether it's the bad back or lack of practice, isn't going to impose his will on the series. He clocked a 25/4/6 in his 3 games with the Raptors, and with Kyle Lowry treating his back during games I'm feeling pretty optimistic about his prospects here.

So go ahead and blame Bird all you want, but like any Pacers general manager, he's got one hand tied behind his back. That said, the additions of Ibaka and Tucker give Toronto arguably its best-ever chance to reach the NBA Finals. Although the Memphis Grizzlies were able to notch 2 wins thanks to Mike Conley and some lackluster performance from the non-Leonard Spurs, the Spurs are not only the second best team in the West, but the second best team in the league and, barring divine intervention, should progress to the semifinals.



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