Title: LeBron, Cavaliers play the hits in extinguishing the Raptors’ season
Date: May 8, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I quickly touched on all the ways in which the Cavaliers picked the Raptors’ defense apart, ways the Raptors knew were coming and couldn’t stop.
Knowing something is coming is no certainty you’ll be able to stop it.
The Toronto Raptors knew what was coming against the Cleveland Cavaliers this postseason because, while some of the personnel and narrative had changed, the core pieces hadn’t. Namely, LeBron James. James creates an embarrassment of problems for any defence as the league’s preeminent one-stop shop for offence. The Raptors knew their choices, as they’d spent two prior postseasons having the poles explained to them with brute force. Stay at home on the support staff and James will bludgeon; over-help and he will flay. The Raptors opted for the latter for the bulk of the series, and in doing so knew that their success on the defensive end would come down to their ability to one, fight the urge to send extra attention at the best player in the world, and two, actually do a good job defending the other players on the floor four-on-four.
To work backwards from the result: There wasn’t success on the defensive end to speak of, really.