The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers are set to face off tonight for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s a classic battle of the No. 1 and 2 seeds, but it doesn’t really feel like it.
No one seems to be giving Toronto a chance in this series. It looks like many are predicting a sweep for Cleveland, and I don’t blame them.
Toronto barely got past the No. 7 seed Indiana Pacers, winning in seven games. The same happened against the Miami Heat, who ended the series being without Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, yet they were still able to force a seven-game series.
Given the inconsistencies throughout the postseason from their two players, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, it also makes sense why the Raptors aren’t favored at all. But what if the Raptors could shock the world?
In the wise words of Kevin Garnett, anything is possible. The Raptors have already made franchise history, since this is the farthest they’ve made it in a given season. Why not go even further and contend for the NBA Finals?
Here are five reasons why the Raptors have a chance at upsetting the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
1. Overconfidence in Cleveland
The Cavaliers have been steamrolling past everyone during this year’s playoffs. Cleveland swept the Detroit Pistons in the first round, and then they easily took care of the Atlanta Hawks in the second.
The Cavs could be looking at the Raptors as a cakewalk, especially with Jonas Valanciunas expected to miss some time at the start of the series. He’s already ruled out for Game 1.
With this, could we see some overconfidence coming from these Cavs players? Will the big man take it easy in the post, giving guys like Patrick Patterson and Bismack Biyombo more opportunities in the post to take advantage?
LeBron James has probably learned his lesson from past playoff experiences of being overconfident about a team, so we shouldn’t expect it from him. But can we expect the same from the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, both who are playing in their second year of the postseason experience ever?
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