After letting the Toronto Raptors knot the series at two games apiece, the Cleveland Cavaliers returned home to the Q. The Cavs went to work right out of the gate, jumping out to a 37-19 lead after one quarter of action. Their dominance continued into halftime as they lead grew to 65-35, the largest halftime lead in any conference finals. Cleveland’s big three outscored the Raptors 43-35 at the half. The Cavaliers won with a final score or 116-78. The series shifts back to Canada and if Cleveland wants to close out, they must follow these three keys.

Quiet the Stars
Kyle Lowry has been as hot and cold as anybody this NBA postseason. His struggles in Cleveland continued as he scored 13 points on 5/12 shooting in Game 5. The point guard recorded six assists but turned the ball over five times. The goal is to stop if not slow down Lowry’s production.

Finally, the Cavs shut down DeMar DeRozan. He still scored 14 points with the help of going 10/12 at the foul line. The important stat was DeRozan shooting 2/8 from the field. The guard was stifled by the Cavaliers defense. After letting him tally 104 points in the first four games and shoot at will, the Cavs addressed the problem. They were extremely physical and didn’t allow DeRozan to get into rhythm.

Love is in the Air
Kevin Love entered the ECF averaging 19 points and 13 rebounds. In five games vs Toronto, his numbers are down to 14.2 points and 4.4 rebounds. Love hasn’t attempted more than nine shots in the first three games. The Cavs gave him more opportunities, but he still struggled. However, Love found his rhythm again in Game 5. The power forward led the Cavs in scoring with 25 points. He was amazingly efficient, knocking down eight of his 10 shots. He even got to the foul line again, a perfect 6/6, after not going to the line in Toronto. If Kevin Love is knocking down his shots and taking free throws, then the Cavs are in good shape.

The Newest Cavs
Cleveland signed Richard Jefferson this off-season and acquired Channing Frye in a trade mid-season. The former Arizona Wildcats have given Cleveland that surge off the bench. Jefferson is shooting 48% from the field and playing valuable minutes. Additionally, Frye has been outstanding. He is shooting 57% from deep and 62% overall against Toronto. In fact, he is the current postseason leader in three-point percentage. Frye is turning out to be a valuable asset and hopefully his success continues. These veterans have impacted the team, especially the bench. These two – plus Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert and LeBron are the Cavs’ most productive bench group.

-Max Gold

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