The Toronto Raptors discover themselves in acquainted territory as they put together to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Recreation 1 of the Jap Convention Semifinals on Tuesday night time. For the previous two years in a row, the Cavs have been their postseason albatross, simply eliminating them from the playoffs as they folded within the face of LeBron’s dominance.
But this 12 months’s Cavs are extra susceptible than ever, and the Raptors, to their credit score, have systematically reworked their type of play to higher match the pace-and-space period. And in gentle of Cleveland’s struggles in opposition to Indiana in spherical one, Toronto enters this collection because the prohibitive favorites. On paper, not less than.
The Raptors’ greatest problem is probably going going to be a psychological one. They’re a categorically totally different staff from final 12 months, when the Cavs bullied them proper out of the playoffs in a four-game sweep in spherical two. However they nonetheless should show that they received’t cower within the face of the monolith that’s LeBron James.
In an effort to accomplish that, they’ll have to play good. And All-Star level guard Kyle Lowry has been hitting the books, paying explicit consideration to the newest chapter by which the Pacers have been in some way in a position to push them to the breaking level, by way of Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.
“The query everyone asks me as a basketball man is, ‘Do you double [James]?’ ‘Do you [defend] him one-on-one?” Lowry stated. “He has seen every thing. You simply should play basketball. It’s a must to make him uncomfortable if you happen to can and make him work somewhat tougher. Decide him up. Contact him. Really feel him.
“Indiana did job of enjoying and throwing our bodies at him, making him work somewhat extra when he was taking the ball up, selecting him up. Not simply letting him catch the ball on the elbow or mid-post and do no matter he needs.”
When you’re considering “now, wait a minute, LeBron submitted a few of the greatest postseason performances of his profession, to not point out of all time, no matter what they tried to throw at him” then, properly, you’re not alone.
However Lowry and the Raptors don’t have a lot of alternative besides to marshal all of the forces at their command to attempt to sluggish him down this collection. Luckily for them, OG Anunoby is keen for the problem of going at James, and with the Cavs supporting solid struggling to hit photographs, the same old worry of LeBron’s passing capacity is diminished as a result of his teammates haven’t been efficient at flattening photographs.
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