They say to be the best, you need to beat the best.
Well, the Toronto Raptors certainly want to prove that they’re for real, and the Cavaliers have been the best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference ever since LeBron James returned to Cleveland.
LeBron scored 45 points in Game 7 to help the Cavs beat the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, setting the stage for a rematch against the Raptors in the second round.
One year ago, the Cavs and Raptors looked like they didn’t belong on the same court. LeBron and company had their way with Toronto, making it look easy in a four-game sweep.
This is the third consecutive season the Raptors and Cavs have played each other in the playoffs, with Cleveland also winning in six games in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals.
But this year is different.
The Raptors had the best year in team history, winning 59 games and securing first-place in the East. DeMar DeRozan had the best year of his career, and his supporting cast – including the best bench in the NBA – has never looked better.
The Cavs have struggled by their standards, finishing fourth in the East, and having trouble with the Pacers in the first round.
Toronto has home court advantage this time, which could prove to be vital. The Raptors were 34-7 at the Air Canada Centre during the regular season and are 3-0 at home so far in the playoffs.
We’ll see what the Raptors are made of, beginning on Tuesday.
Here’s the first round schedule:
|Game 1||Tue, May 1||CLE @ TOR||8:00 PM||TSN|
|Game 2||Thu, May 3||CLE @ TOR||6:00 PM||Sportsnet|
|Game 3||Sat, May 5||TOR @ CLE||8:30 PM||Sportsnet|
|Game 4||Mon, May 7||TOR @ CLE||8:30 PM||TSN|
|Game 5*||Wed, May 9||CLE @ TOR||TBD||TSN|
|Game 6*||Fri, May 11||TOR @ CLE||TBD||Sportsnet|
|Game 7*||Sun, May 13||CLE @ TOR||TBD||TSN|