Shoot to Kill – Take This Home 2-0

If the Cavs win Game 2 tonight, the series is over. There is no way Toronto will be able to win two games in Cleveland, four of the next five, to win the series. This is as close to a must-win as it gets for the home team.

In Game 1, the Cavs trailed all the way until the very end until LeBron tied the game at 105 with a magnificent fadeaway jumper.

The game went to overtime and the Cavs took command, but Toronto had a chance at the buzzer and….

Beating LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Playoffs has been a wall for teams since he first started his run to the NBA Finals way back in 2010-11. Now, we all know LeBron doesn’t have the sexiest record in the finals, but he has proven to get there year in and year out.

Throughout his run, many felt this was the year that the King could finally be dethroned. The Cavs were a newly-formed bunch, the four seed and haven’t shined for any stretch of the regular season. Also, Indiana taking the team to seven games helped that theory.

After losing Game 1 on the home floor, the Raptors are certainly feeling the heat, especially after blowing a lead they held throughout most of the game. And honestly, it was probably one of LeBron’s worst playoff games. He went 12-30 and 1-6 from the line. Imagine if a couple more of those shots went down. Funny that he had a triple-double and it’s one of his poorer performances….

I fully expect the Cavs to come out a take control of Game 2. I see the Raptors making a run back, as the NBA is a game of runs, but the Cavs will hold on to take a 2-0 lead coming home to Cleveland for Game 3 on Thursday night.

My key to the game would be to get Kevin Love involved early and often. Even if he misses his first couple of shots, he needs to find that stroke not just for this game or series, but for the entire playoff run. I believe he is struggling with some mental hurdles and maybe getting to the line a few times and seeing the ball go in the hoop will help.

Also, guys like Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood, who combined for seven points on 3-12 shooting, need to step up. It’s hard to expect 20 from JR Smith and 17 from Kyle Korver each night. That’s what pulled us through Game 1, but it still needs to be more of a team effort.

Tristan Thompson, the comeback player of the year (self-dubbed), needs to continue that energy he’s displayed in the past two games. Not only did he grab nine offensive rebounds (12 total), but he also scored 14 points and went 4-4 from the line.

For the first time, it really felt like a team effort and that must continue in Game 2 and beyond. The Cavs cannot rely on 40+ points from LeBron on 60% shooting, albeit it wouldn’t surprise me if he did that this evening.

Shoot to kill. Do not get complacent and settle for a split. Let’s end this as soon as possible and get LeBron and company more rest before the conference finals.

Photo: ESPN

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