We did say we wanted Cleveland. As much as Raptors fans enjoyed the euphoria of winning an Eastern Conference semi-final and as much as we've been saying we're just happy to be here, the Raptors are certainly testing our resolve.
On the heels of a frankly embarrassing loss in Game 1, it was more of the same in Game 2 despite a little bit more fight shown. The Raptors hung around for most of the first half, even taking the lead on a couple of occasions, but once Cleveland put their foot on the gas, they were able to find a gear the Raptors couldn't match as they took this one easily 108-89.
The Raptors made a change in adding Luis Scola to the starting lineup in an effort to bolster the bench unit with Patrick Patterson. Although the Raptors had some success in the first quarter in trailing only 30-28, the Cavaliers just looked better. They shot 62% to the Raptors' 50%. Seven of their eleven made field goals came in the paint, and were avoiding the mid-range barrage the Raptors were dependent on to find scoring of their own.
Patterson is a -11 in 14 minutes.— Chris Black (@ByChrisBlack) May 20, 2016
Let's not act as if options are a'plenty. https://t.co/773f3YmaBv
By halftime, that lead had ballooned to 62-48. LeBron James had put up a near triple double at the break with 17 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds on only 7 shots. The Raptors had absolute no answer, as the layup line to the basket continued for the Cavs. From that point on, the lead stayed in the 20-ish range through to the end of the game, and I'd be doing this recap a disservice if I tried to add more flavour to it than that. Kevin Love, LeBron and Kyrie were dominant, and DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were not.
Consider the following dualities: The Cavaliers had 50 points in the paint to the Raptors' 28. They shot 50% from the field to the Raptors' 40%. The Cavs' three-point attack machine we were so worried about coming into this series hasn't even been taken out of the toolbox. Not a single player on the Raptors had a positive +/-. All of the Cavs, save for Shumpert, were a positive. Lowry shot 4-of-14 for 10 points. DeRozan shot 8-of-18 for 22. Kevin Love had 19 points on 8 shots. Kyrie had a better-than-it-sounds 26 points. LeBron registered a triple double. This was a massacre of the highest order once again.
There's no joy in being negative about where things currently stand. To be so woefully outmatched in the playoffs, after Detroit and Atlanta at least showed flashes of success against Cleveland, is ultimately disappointing. Maybe a trip home changes things. The ACC has been the Raptors' safe haven during this playoff run, and that's what we have to bank on now.
The Raptors are troubled on all fronts. It hasn't just been an issue of coaching. It hasn't just been an issue of effort. It isn't just the offence and it isn't just the defence. Maybe the most harrowing reality the Raptors are faced with is that the Cavaliers are just frankly better. With the Raptors' All-Stars consistently misfiring and not entirely reliable to turn this ship around, maybe the Raptors' success isn't dependent on anything they do, but a slippage from a juggernaut Cleveland team. To expect that from a team that's now 10-0 in the postseason though reflects the bleak reality the Raptors are now faced with. The players haven't shown up thus far, the coaching has been lacklustre, and the circumstances surrounding the roster haven't helped. There's nothing else to do, you either fight or die.