2018 Playoffs: Game 2 Preview - Raptors vs. Cavaliers

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Cleveland Cavaliers (1-0) @ Toronto Raptors (0-1)

When: Thursday, May 3rd, 6 P.M. ET

Where: Air Canada Centre

Broadcast info: ESPN, Sportsnet One, TSN1050

LAST MEETING

The Raptors dropped Game 1 in a 113-112 decision in overtime on Tuesday night. After Toronto led throughout, the Cavaliers took their first lead of the game in overtime, on a three-pointer from Kyle Korver. Though the Raptors had opportunities in both overtime and the end of regulation, they could not convert on multiple attempts and suffered a disappointing Game 1 defeat on their home floor. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, J.R Smith added 20 points and Kyle Korver scored 19 points. The Raptors were led by Jonas Valanciunas, who had a 21-point, 21-rebound double-double, DeMar DeRozan who had 22 points, and Kyle Lowry who scored 18 points to go with 10 assists.

 

LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME

Injury report: The injury report is currently clear for both teams.

Game 2: The Raptors are 6-1 when playing Game 2 on their home floor and they have also won their last four Game 2's at the Air Canada Centre. After getting off to a great start in Game 1, Toronto wants to feed off its home crowd and do the same on Thursday as they look to even up the series.

Locked in: Despite dropping Game 1 in disappointing fashion, the Raptors came to practice on Wednesday with confidence high, the group focused on getting ready for Thursday's Game 2. "The biggest thing is just remaining confident in what we are doing," C.J. Miles said. "We did a lot of good things, and we feel like a lot of things we can clean up and do better."

 

EXTRA ASSISTS

Frustrating fourth: The Raptors were outscored 23-18 in the fourth quarter. After shooting 53 percent through the first three quarters, Toronto shot just 21 percent in the final frame, and missed its final 11 field goals in regulation, despite getting solid looks at the basket and plenty of opportunities to convert. "You ever see the movie 6th Man?" DeMar DeRozan said. "It was like somebody was sitting on the rim, Antoine {from the movie] was sitting on the rim, knocking them out. It sucked. But we had a lot of great looks. I thought my putback was good, CJ's, JV's. CJ's three was a walk in, dead wide open three-point shot that we will live with every day of the week. And I told him that. Like I said, just Antoine sitting up there, knocking the ball out."

Taking care of the ball: One area the Raptors beat themselves in Game 1 was turnovers. Toronto turned the ball over 14 times on Tuesday, giving the Cavaliers 21 points. Making things worse for the Raptors was that Cleveland only committed six turnovers in the game, leading to just four points scored by the Raptors. In a one-point game, that's a 17-point differential in points scored off turnovers. "Tighten up, just clean things up is where we are at," Fred VanVleet said. "One-possession game, one-point game, any one of those 200 possessions could have been the difference. We've got to be better ourselves."

FVV from deep: After a season of hitting big shots for the Raptors, Fred VanVleet had two opportunities from beyond the arc— one in regulation and another in overtime — to put Toronto ahead in Game 1. VanVleet came up empty on both attempts assisted by DeMar DeRozan. "I told him if we're in that same situation again, [I'd] make the same exact pass," DeRozan said after the game. "It's not just me trusting him, every single guy on this team, [and the] coaching staff trusts him in the moments, that's why he's in the game late in the game. He got tough skin, he's going to bounce back, respond from it, [and] I still have the utmost confidence in him."

VanVleet was asked about taking and missing late-game shots when he spoke to the media on Wednesday. His response illustrated why his teammates and coaching staff feel so strongly about him.

"I've got thick skin," he said. "I'm going to take those shots every time. If you don't want me to take them, don't put me out there, don't pass it to me, because it's going up to me if it does and it's the right shot. When you make it, you're the hero. When you don't, you suck. That's what makes making them that great. The pain of missing them and the agony of having to sit through the night and sit on that until the next chance to go out and play, those highs and lows of the game is what makes the game so great."

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