Round 2: Cleveland’s Options

The Cleveland Cavaliers successfully pulled off a series sweep over the Indiana Pacers and are advancing to the second round. Who’s the more optimal match up for LeBron and the Cavaliers?

The Milwaukee Bucks

are a young, but yet very dangerous team. Giannis Antetokounmpo is making his case for Most Improved Player, and has averaged: (21.3) points, (10) rebounds, (4.5) assists, and (2) steals through four games against the Raptors. He’s shown LeBron trouble before, and is only better than the last time they faced.

Besides the Greek Freak, backup center Greg Monroe is putting on a sixth-man performance. In the series with Toronto, he’s averaging (15.5) points and (8.8) rebounds off the bench. Should he be on the court with the Cavaliers second unit, they won’t have an answer.

Milwaukee has length, and always matches up great with Cleveland. If Round 2 means playing the young Bucks, expect it to be a longer series, something LeBron’s not used to in the 2nd round.

The Toronto Raptors

have been hit and miss this post-season. Star shooting guard DeMar Derozan didn’t land a field goal in Game 3 against Milwaukee, and point guard Kyle Lowry is shooting (25%) from deep. Just like the Houston Rockets, the Cavaliers have emerged as a three-point threat this year, and the Raptors won’t be able to counter.

This team is backcourt heavy, and will face adversity in the post should they face Cleveland. They are dependent on the guard position, but will find some success there too. The Iman Shumpert/JR Smith shooting guard option will be a defensive risk, should they guard DeMar. Expect DeRozan to have some big games, and Lowry to put up an average game.

Toronto is a great defensive team, and they’ve had great stretches against Milwaukee through four games. However, moving on to Round 2 means moving on to a 4-0 sweep. 

In Conclusion

the Cavaliers will be better off facing the Raptors. I don’t think they will fall to either team, but sweeping in four vs winning in six is more convenient for practice and rest before the Conference Finals.

The Bucks are threatening, but haven’t even seen the Conference Semi Finals since 2001, before any of these guys were on roster. Toronto does have experience, but lack three point dexterity and depth that it will take to pull of wins versus the Cavaliers.

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