After a painful loss in Cleveland’s season opener to the Boston Celtics the Cavaliers look to rebound tonight as they travel to Toronto to play the Raptors.
The Cavaliers have played great against the Raptors in recent years, having a 12-2 record since 2005 and currently hold a 5-game win streak against Toronto. Even though the Cavaliers have had great success against the Raptors, it wouldn’t surprise me if this one stays close.
KEYS TO THE GAME
- Take Smart Shots: The Cavs are in need of a better shot selection. I don’t know how many times I was seeing players put up a shot with +15 seconds left on the shot clock. They give you 24 seconds for a reason, use them.
- Perimeter Defense: The one thing that really killed me last night was the lack of defense on the perimeter. You’d think that the Cavs would’ve learned their lesson against Orlando last year. There were a handful of times that I saw O’Neal and Ilgauskas defending a three when they should’ve been in the post.
- Team Chemistry: What really hurt Cleveland last night was lack of team chemistry. The Cavaliers have an abundance of new faces on the team, now all they have to do is get them on the same page.
- Contain Turkoglu: The Cavaliers are no strangers to Hedo Turkoglu, some of you may remember is ugly mug from last years playoffs. The Raptors brought him in to do what he does best, create problems in Matchups. Don’t be surprised to see the Raptors run the pick and roll quite a bit to try and free up Turk for the three.
- Points in the Paint: Toronto lacks the brute strength in the post to contend with O’Neal or even Ilguaskas for that matter. The Cavs need to feed the ball into the post and let the big men control the game. Once all the eyes are on O’Neal and Z, that’s when you dish it out to LeBron.
- Adapt the Game plan: Mike Brown needs to start adapting and changing his game plan throughout the game. Mike Brown’s game plan was beautifully executed in the first quarter of last nights game until Boston decided to change theirs up a bit. When you see something isn’t working, take a timeout and make a change.
- Limit Turnovers: I was surprised to see so many errant passes last night, especially from LeBron. I love it when players get fancy with passes, but you need to know that there is a time and place for that. You don’t need to force a pass, if a teammate isn’t open look for another option.