This series appears to be over by most accounts, but there has been crazier so things that have happened so why not break it down right?
Sure, this series will more than likely come down to LeBron James, but the player who can put the biggest wrench is James’ plan is Kyle Lowry. Lowry is talented in how he is able to attack the basket. The Raptors are also a team that, now with the Jonas Valanciunas injury, will almost exclusively be running small lineups. Kyrie Irving is not the strongest defender, and Lowry is literally stronger than him so Lowry has the ability to grind him to the rim. In the small lineups, there are a lot of times that Lowry will be seeing Kevin Love and Channing Frye at the rim. They are not the toughest rim defenders, and Lowry has had his success scoring in the paint against the Cavaliers in the regular season.
On defense for the Raptors it will come down to Demarre Carroll. Carroll was slotted to defend James for the Hawks last season, but injury early in that series ended his chance. After James ended the Hawks without Carroll, he now gets to go head to head with him. The Raptors also have Bismark Biyombo, who typically is not an offensive player, but is a guy who can help defend the rim. He is too weak to stop James all the time, but he can force James to take some outside shots, and should be able to rebound with Tristan Thompson at times.
At the end of the day it should be a pretty good series. James should be able to take down the Raptors, but Lowry, and Demar DeRozan have gotten a big monkey off of their backs and are now playing with house money. You could almost feel the pressure building on them, so it will be interesting to see if they can get back to their regular season forms without much expectation this series. If so, this has the capacity to be a long series, however this is too familiar of a territory for James. He may succumb to the back court duo for a game or two, but he is too close to the Finals now. While Biyombo has been good in the paint, Love, Frye and Thompson will be too much for him and Patrick Patterson overall, and the Raptors will need Valanciunas to keep this close. The Cavaliers should be able to roll into the NBA Finals.
Cavaliers in 6