There is no doubt that the Cavaliers could head to the finals again. So, the question that everyone wants answered is this: Which team(s) have the potential to prevent the Cavaliers from making another repeat finals appearance? Well, i have three teams listed here that have the greatest chance, check ’em out.
The Celtics success rests heavily on the shoulders of Jae Crowder and his health. Never-the-less, the Celtics have a huge potential of preventing Lebron’s return to the finals. Although the Celtics would require many things to happen in their favor, they DO have the defense required to stop the Cavaliers in their tracks. This would be interesting to see.
With the Celtics defense ranked fourth in the league, they respectfully ranked number two for the season up to the point when the absence of Crowder began to affect the teams overall numbers. Regardless of that, having a healthy Crowder back now will be a huge threat to the Cavs.
Another potential threat is Isaiah Thomas. Although his performance against the Cavs has been less than par, i believe his potential will soon be great when he meets the Cavs again. Of course, i say this only if his points and assists are the only factor for success. Thomas’ average points per game are 17.6 and his assists per game are 5.3,
The Charlotte Hornets have become a force to be wreckoned with since their roster is all healthy now. This is perfect timing with the Courtney Lee acquisition.
The Hornets NBA record of 20-6 has been third since February. This is not bad when you compare it to the Spurs and Warriors.
Although the Hornets are 1-2 against the cavs, they show more consistency as compared to the inconsistencies of the Caveliers. I would make sure to keep my eye on the Hornets as they are certainly underdogs who are fully capable of giving a surprise defeat to the Cavaliers.
This brings me to the Toronto Raptors. Their season record is 2-1 against the Cavs and they have also captured the season series against them. Toronto is also only 2.5 games behind Cleveland. Toronto does have odds against them if they plan to get into the number-one seed spot while having eight more scheduled games to play. I don’t think Canadians are too worried about their Cavs matchups.
As far as the Raptors defense goes, it could use a lot more work. But despite this, they do have a point differential which is currently number two and two of the league’s best guards who are fully capable of tearing apart the Cavs defense throughout the perimeter.
An example of this capability will most likely come from Kyle Lowry. His performance has been nothing short of great. Per game, Lowry has points averaging around 21.5. His assists average 6.5, his steals average 2.1 and rebounds average 4.9 per game. His performance against the Cavs has also been dominating, with points averaging around 31.0, assists averaging 8.3 and rebounds averaging 4.0.
It’s obvious that Kyrie Irving won’t be able to keep up with Lowry as i see Lowry working him from both sides of the court. Plus, DeMar DeRozan is very consistent with foul line attempts. Then there’s Jonas Valanciunas who can be viewed as the Raptors sleeping giant waiting to be awoken to help dominate the series.