Title: Biggest part of Raptors-Cavaliers chess match may be frontcourt matching
Date: May 3, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the chess match of frontcourt rotations in the Raptors’ playoff series with the Cavaliers and why it could dictate a lot of the series.
You hear head coaches say it all the time: A playoff series is a chess match. Or some other such metaphor. But definitely not checkers. Whatever the game, the analogy is clear. A playoff series will require careful maneuvering – maneuvering that not only plays to a team’s strengths but plays in anticipation of their opponent’s strengths and their own potential adjustments.
With the margins for playoff success so thin, it’s not enough for a team to be at its best, they have to lay out a gameplan that allows them to be at their best against the way the opponent plays against their best – or their expected – version of that. At least, I think. I’m more of a bones guy, myself.
For Dwane Casey and Ty Lue and their respective teams, the chess-match of their second-round series might be waged on multiple fronts. For Casey and the Toronto Raptors, there’s the matter of defending LeBron James and all of the difficult decisions he forces on a defence. Everything flows from there.