The Cleveland Cavaliers have been the thorn in the side of the Toronto Raptors for at least the last three seasons in the NBA Playoffs. The two teams have frequently met each other at some point in the playoffs, and the Raptors have just as frequently blown up their chances to advance farther into the next rounds.
The contest between the two teams last night had a familiar ring to it for Raptors fans. Their beloved team had every opportunity to put up the “W” in this game only to find a way to lose out in the end. FiveThirtyEight.com says that the meltdown for the Raptors was epic.
In Game 1 of the Series the Raptors led by fourteen points at one stage of the game. It didn’t matter though because the Cavaliers would surge back and force the game into overtime. The Raptors could not keep it together in overtime and ended up losing the game by a single point, 113-112.
For three out of the four quarters of the game the Raptors actually did what they needed to do offensively with the ball. They found ways to score and showed off some of the offensive firepower that has made them one of the teams that people actually believe had a chance for a championship. It was only once they got into the fourth quarter that things started to turn sour for them. Their shooting percentage dropped off in a big way and the team just started to get sloppy. They left doors open for the Cavaliers to come charging back.
The fourth quarter showed the Raptors missing easy to make shots from right underneath the basket. These are shots that any statistical breakdown would have them making the vast majority of the time. Who knows if there was something psychological going on with the Raptors last night, but we do know that they need to figure it out if they hope to regain their footing and have a chance at taking out the Cavaliers in the playoffs once and for all.
There are still many games left to go in the series potentially. Toronto has a chance to show the basketball loving world that they will not repeat history yet again with this particular series. However, they will have to see an uptick in their performance on the court, in particular when shooting shots that out to be easy baskets.