TORONTO- The Cleveland Cavaliers made an incredible comeback to force overtime in game one on Tuesday. Cleveland was down by double digits several times. Then the Cavs would constantly be within five points of tying the game only for the Raptors to slip away. Eventually, the effort paid off with a defensive stand on Toronto’s last possession in the fourth quarter that gave LeBron James the chance to end the game. He missed the shot but the Cavs prevailed in overtime 113-112. Cleveland takes on Toronto tonight at 6:00 pm Eastern Time.
There are several things the Cavs need to do better in game 2. Toronto had a lot of wide open three-point opportunities just like the Pacers had in the quarterfinals. Cleveland must clamp down on defense and not allow wide open shots from beyond the arc. This seems to be an Achilles heel that the Cavs really need to improve against. This is going to be an issue that everyone will see if it isn’t corrected soon.
Also, the Cavs need to keep hitting inside shots. Although the Cavs can make three pointers given Kyle Korver’s and JR Smith’s consistency at times, it isn’t necessarily good for the team to rely on these shots. Kevin Love is as cold as ice figuratively and perhaps literally. He keeps missing three pointers whether they are contested or not. Also, he needs to be careful with his elbow during loose ball situations. The next time he elbows DeMar Derozan or another Raptors player, he may face ejection. The NBA League Office is going to keep an eye on love after upgrading his common foul to a flagrant one.
James can keep taking the game over if he wants. He recorded another triple double with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. It’s obvious that even the Raptors defense can’t stop him.
On the other side, the Raptors should feel free to keep shooting three pointers if the Cavs give them opportunities. This really worked well and should be a point of emphasis. The Raptors didn’t always play good defense like they did in the first quarter so that’s an area they need to improve in. The Raptors went from leading 33-19 after the first quarter to hanging on to a 60-57 lead at halftime. Surrendering 38 points in the second quarter after just 19 before that is not a recipe for winning. The home team needs to put the pedal to the metal and run away with a huge lead.