Poll: Toronto Raptors Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Although there’s plenty of intrigue among the NBA’s four Conference Semifinal matchups this spring, most of those series look like they have clear favorites.

A panel of nearly two-dozen ESPN experts unanimously selected the Rockets and Warriors to earn spots in the Western Conference Finals by defeating the Jazz and Pelicans, respectively. Utah and New Orleans looked great in the first round and could still give the favorites a run for their money, but their Game 1 performances didn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

In the East, ESPN’s panel heavily favors the Sixers over the Celtics in the first of two Eastern Conference series. If Kyrie Irving and/or Gordon Hayward were healthy, this would be a more fascinating matchup, but as well-coached as the Celtics are, they may not have the talent to keep up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid for seven games. Despite holding home court advantage, Boston enters the series as a major underdog, with 18 of 21 ESPN experts picking the 76ers to win.

That leaves one series, the Raptors vs. the Cavaliers, as a potential toss-up. The analytics data – along with each team’s performance in the regular season and first round – favors the Raptors, but history favors the Cavs. After all, Cleveland has eliminated Toronto in each of the past two postseasons, winning eight of 10 games over the Raptors in those two series.

There’s reason to believe that this year’s Raptors squad can end that streak. The club is deeper than ever, featuring the NBA’s best five-man bench unit. Additionally, star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have bought into an offensive system that features more ball movement and less isolation play. That system has been a huge success all season long, including against the Cavs — the Raps averaged nearly 123 points per game vs. Cleveland in three regular season contests.

Still, the Cavs won two of those three games during the regular season. While LeBron James‘ play keyed those victories – particularly in a 35-point, 17-assist, 0-turnover performance in March – Cleveland’s supporting cast came up big too. Kevin Love, Jose Calderon, and Jeff Green played particularly well in the Cavs’ two wins over Toronto, and George Hill racked up 22 points in March’s game. If Cleveland’s role players can keep up that sort of production against the Raps in the postseason, it would take a huge load off James, who carried the team to a first-round win.

This will be a fascinating series to watch. Does LeBron still have Toronto’s number? Will he get more help vs. Toronto than he did against Indiana? Will the Raptors’ home-court advantage be a deciding factor? (Both of their regular-season losses to the Cavs came in Cleveland).

ESPN’s experts favor the Cavs by a 12-7 margin, but the oddsmakers at Bovada.lv view the Raptors as a 2-to-1 favorite. Which side do you fall on? Is this the year the Raps dethrone the King and end James’ streak of seven straight NBA Finals appearances, or will LeBron and the Cavs eliminate Toronto for a third straight season?

Vote below in our poll, then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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9 thoughts on “Poll: Toronto Raptors Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. I’m a fan of Lebron’s ability, aside from the hoopla, but I see the Raptors taking this; they play like a team and have a bench 5 which play an equally competitive but different style, while the Cavs stand around waiting for LeBron to takeover and praying Smith or Love get hot. It just feels like Toronto’s time

    • You put a lot of money on the Raptors and you’re going to have to sell that speaker business of yours. The smart money’s on Cleveland.

  2. dust44

    Gunna b a tough series for LeBron to carry the Cavs. The Raps r the deepest team in the NBA and have multiple scoring options. The Pacers had 1 and 1 guy who got super hot 1 game. The Raps can have 8-9 guys in double figures every night

  3. The Raptors will break your heart every year. They win a lot of games, number one seed regular season, but they’re not closers.

    DeRozen and Kyle Lowry and I don’t even know who their wing guys are will not lead to the NBA finals.

    That and the NBA wants LeBron in the finals. That and the networks want LeBron in the finals.That and the advertisers want LeBron in the finals.

    Write it down it’s a lock. Can’t you picture DeMar DeRozan missing a 21-footer and losing the game with 4 seconds left? Can’t you see Kyle Lowry with a turnover or throwing it out of bounds with 3 seconds left of a tight game? Yep that’s how I see it.

  4. Chris

    Cavs in 6. Wouldn’t shock me if it was faster than that. We’ve seen this story too many times. Lowry will be terrible. DeRozan will resort to contested long 2 pt jumpers. Nothing I’ve seen this season or in the playoffs has changed my mind

  5. moazetongue

    Cavs. The longer this thing plays out, this cavs team that has not played two games in a row with a complete roster all season, is picking up precious court time. This team had a major turnover from the previous season due to Kyrie bailing. Then they turned it over once again at the deadline. Then the injuries started.

    Experience playing together is major no matter what level of basketball. So that seven game series actually helped the team.

    The raptors are far better than they’ve been, but can they get past the heebeegeebees this year?

    I think the Cavs will ultimately win but will be either a 6 or 7 game series. If they don’t win it, then good job to their talented guards for hitting their stride this season.

  6. moazetongue

    Btw, sixers didn’t look heavily favored for anything other than a quick start to summer vacation in game one.

  7. x%sure

    The raptors will do better. Last year vs Cavs they tried too hard to win physically and hampered themselves.

    Cavs need as many minutes from Hill as possible because Clarkson cannot get untracked. It would be a good idea to run plays for him until he gets in rythym but that probably won’t happen.

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