Posted on May 18, 2016 by Travis Pulver
The Toronto Raptors are a good team. You have to be a good team to win 56 regular season games and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, after needing to go to Game Seven against the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat they are also a tired team battling injuries—and it showed against the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night.
Everything had to go right for the Raptors if they were going to have a chance at stealing a win in Cleveland. They needed to continue right where they left off after beating the Miami Heat in Game Seven. They needed Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan at their best, a couple of role players to step up, and they needed the Cavaliers to be rusty after such a long layoff.
Well–it just didn’t happen for them.
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Cleveland looked like the team that was in the zone, and Toronto looked like they were the rusty ones. Lebron James made his first nine shots en route to a 24-point night. Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 27 points, and Kevin Love chipped in another 14 as the Cavaliers coasted to an easy 115-85 victory.
At first, the game appeared promising for the Raptors. Toronto got out to an early 7-0 lead and was only behind by five at the end of the first period. The second, however, is where everything fell apart. Cleveland outscored them 33-16 to take a 66-44 lead into the half.
Toronto couldn’t cut into the lead in the second half and ended up losing by 31-points giving the Cavaliers the franchise’s most lopsided win in its postseason history. With the win, they remain undefeated in postseason play with a 9-0 record. The last team to do so was the San Antonio Spurs who started the 2012 playoffs with 10 in a row. The Los Angeles Lakers hold the record with 11 wins to start the playoffs back in 1989 and 2001.
James and the rest of the team are not interested in records. They have their eyes set on the real prize and don’t expect the series to be a breeze.
“I don’t think we have complacency in our minds,” he told the media. “We have a goal, and our goal is not nine wins. I’ve won nine games before. I’ve won 14 games before. We will face some adversity.”
They certainly didn’t face any difficulty from the Raptors in Game One. Kyle Lowry couldn’t buy a shot all night hitting just 4-14 for eight points. DeMar DeRozan wasn’t much better hitting 9 of 17on the night for 17 points. James Johnson was the only other player to score in double figures for Toronto (10 points).
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey didn’t mince words after the game but did appear to be keeping things in perspective, “I thought they were the fresher team, the quicker team.”
“This score is embarrassing,” he said. “But it’s just one game.”
The Raptors will have a chance at redemption Tuesday night in Cleveland in Game Two, but if their stars can’t find their shots they don’t have a chance of even making the score look respectable.