5 reasons the Raptors can beat the Cavaliers

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

1. The Cavs won’t stay this hot from three-point range

Through eight playoff victories, the Cleveland Cavaliers are averaging 16.8 three-pointers per game and are shooting 46.2 percent from the outside. In the Eastern Conference Semifinal sweep against the Atlanta Hawks alone, those numbers were 19.3 threes and 50.7 percent.

No team in NBA history had ever averaged 12 or more total threes per game in a playoff season before this year. What the Cavs have done this postseason is unprecedented, sort of like Steph Curry’s entire regular season, but obviously over a much smaller time frame.

Unprecedented results usually are unprecedented for a reason: They cool off over a larger sample size and the numbers crash back to the norm. During the regular season, the Cavs averaged only 10.7 threes per game and 36.3 percent shooting from three-point range. Those are far more ordinary and human-like numbers, albeit still among the best marks in the league.

During this series, you’d expect Cleveland’s numbers to be much closer to that season-long baseline. Be it random variance or Toronto’s tough perimeter defense, it’s difficult to assume Cleveland will keep doing otherworldly things from the outside. And that will open the door for Toronto to surprise a lot of people as the narrative stands currently.

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