The conventional wisdom around the NBA is in the East there is Cleveland, then there is everybody else. Toronto is one of those teams on the next tier, but it’s a big step down.
But the Raptors had just one fewer regular season wins than the Cavs, then pushed them to six games in the postseason. They don’t see themselves as that far back of the champs.
Me: So what do you have to do to beat that team two more times?
KL: Stop LeBron. Stop Kyrie.
Me: A little easier said than done.
KL: I think it’s just focus, and being better. Take the experience of what they did to us and learn from it. We couldn’t win a game (in Cleveland) in the playoffs, couldn’t get close. We have to find a way to win a game on the road, especially them having the one seed. But maybe our chance is to get that one seed. That would help, to have home court advantage. But for us even to get to that point, we have to start somewhere, and it starts in Detroit on opening night.
Assuming LeBron James is healthy, I don’t know that the Raptors can get past the Cavaliers. Or any other team in the East, for that matter.
But what would the Raptors’ need to take that step? DeMarre Carroll to be healthy. Lowry himself to shoot better. Jonas Valanciunas to be an unstoppable force inside. Home court. A couple of fortunate bounces.
Still not sure that’d be enough.