Northern Raptors need to cool down Cleveland


The Raptors’ first home game is against the powerhouse Cavaliers. Does Toronto have a serious chance?

After a 2-3 road-trip (that was deemed successful by DeMarre Carroll), the Toronto Raptors finally head home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. As if their trip wasn’t difficult enough, they will have to fend their home court against the favourites out of the east.

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  • LeBron James and Kevin Love lead the Cavs as the main facilitators and shot takers. The team spreads them with shooting wings and rim runners. Tristan Thompson signed for his massive contract and he is averaging double digit rebounds over the last week. Timofey Mozgov’s recent injury has opened up all the playing time he needs.

    The Raptors are still trying to find their sweet spot on offence and defence. Although ranked in the top 10 in both, they still can’t find the constancy to compete for a full 48 minutes. At least now they have a wing defender who can handle James in DeMarre Carroll.

    Oct 18, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (right) greets Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll (left) at the end of the game at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Cleveland 87-81. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Three keys to victory

    Cover the three point line

    With notorious shooters such as J.R. Smith and Kevin Love, as well as lesser shooters such as Richard Jefferson, Jared Cunningham, and Matthew Dellavedova, the Cavaliers manage to put up more than 10 threes a game. They also have an incredible team stat still running.

    Running shooters off the line certainly have an importance in the game, but while they do that, there must also be…

    Rim protection and rotations

    Defence behind the initial defender will be harder to defend since the Cavs spacing and shooting will allow open drives in the lane. The Raptors allow a field goal percentage of 59% within 5 ft, so Bismack Biyombo will certainly have his hands full. Luckily, he limits shots to 45% inside these lines. As a team, they will need to rotate for the cuts and open men in the corners.

    Move the ball

    Did you know the Raptors have the 7th best offence in the league? Did you also know they have the third worst assist ratio? Do you also remember what happened in the playoffs last year?

    Isolation ball is killing this team. After building a ridiculous lead against the LA Clippers on Sunday, they nearly coughed it up with selfish play. You can tell how well the team passes when a player like DeMarre Carrol gets cooking (21 points in the first half, 0 in the second half). These bad habits lead by the all star back court need to change soon, or it will be a typical first round exit come playoff time.

    Key players of the game

    CLE: Matthew Dellavedova; with Kyrie Irving still down and Mo Williams newly minted to the disabled list, this feisty Aussie is hitting his shots and dishing it at a high level.

    TOR: DeMarre Carroll; if he can pester LeBron into difficult shots and at least attempt to move him off his spots, then the Raptors will have a chance to steal the game.

    Next: How many historically bad seasons have the Raptors endured?


    The north cools down their hot hands and breaks their three point record! But LeBron will still have his way in a competitive match.