The No. 1 Raptors will take on the No. 4 Cavs in the second round of the NBA playoffs. The series will tip off in Toronto on Tuesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern on TNT. Game 2 will takes place on Thursday, May 3 at 6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. Here’s a look at the Raptors-Cavaliers second round playoff schedule.
Toronto had punched their ticket to the next round, but was awaiting the winner of the Cavaliers-Pacers series. After winning the first two games of the series, the Raptors hit a skid in the first round as the Wizards evened the series at 2-2. Toronto regained their footing to close out the series in six games. Despite being the No. 1 seed, the Raptors are trying to squash any notion that the team is unable to make a deep playoff run.
Kyle Lowry had a solid first round averaging 17.2 points, 8.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 43.6 percent. DeMar DeRozan got off to a great playoff start by averaging 26.7 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 38.5 percent from behind the arc. Lowry and DeRozan generate a lot of attention for the Raptors, but it’s Toronto’s depth that made them one of the top teams in the NBA. Down low, the Raptors have several bigs to throw at opponents.
Lowry noted in an interview with ESPN the Magazine that the team has their sights set on a championship.
“At the end of the day, we’ve been to a conference final,” Lowry told ESPN. “We’ve been to a second round. We’ve played the fifth-most playoff games in the last how many years. I mean, sometimes we haven’t shot the ball well, but our teams have had some success in the playoffs. Personally, I don’t pay attention to what people say. I just look at it like, ‘All right, whatever.'”
Were the Raptors rooting for the Cavs or the Pacers to win their series? If we’re judging by the regular season, the Raptors were likely rooting for the Pacers. Toronto dropped two of three games to the Cavs this season. The Raptors kept it close in both losses, losing by six and three points in their last two contests. Toronto did not have a player score more than 20 points in their last matchup. LeBron James had 27 points and six assists in their last contest.
The Raptors won three of four games against the Pacers, including three straight contests. With the exception of one game, all the Raptors-Pacers games were decided by seven points or less. DeRozan believes the Raptors have turned the corner, and are a threat to make the NBA finals.
“I think you gotta withstand the test of time, you know?” DeRozan told ESPN. “You gotta go through them dog days sometimes, to be built even stronger. And I think that’s what we did. You gotta give the credit to the front office, believing. And it’s a testament to us, sticking to our game. And one that continued to get better.”
Cleveland has had their way with Toronto in the playoffs the last two post-seasons. The Cavs swept the Raptors in the 2017 playoffs in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Cleveland also defeated Toronto 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 playoffs. The Raptors are playing at a much higher level entering this series, and will have home court advantage.