After Losing Game 4, the Cavaliers Should Be Very Afraid of the Raptors
With a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals over the Toronto Raptors, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked like sure things for a second-straight NBA Finals appearance.
The problem with those plans is that the Raptors didn't like them and decided to defend their home court by winning Games 3 and 4 to even up the series at two games apiece.
Not only did evening out the series help the Raptors save face and avoid being the third straight opponent that the Cavs swept in the playoffs, but the two wins brought their NBA Finals dreams back to life.
Now with a 43.21% chance to win the Eastern Conference, the Raptors have odds that are slightly better than what they were before the series began (42.34%).
And -- not surprisingly -- the teams have played like entirely different entities in Cleveland and Toronto.
Just check out their Offensive Rating and Four Factors splits so far in the series.
|Games 1 and 2||O Rtg||eFG%||Turnover Rate||O Reb Rate||FT/FG Attempt|
The Cavs owned the most important aspects of the game in Cleveland. The tides turned drastically north of the border.
|Games 3 and 4||O Rtg||eFG%||Turnover Rate||O Reb Rate||FT/FG Attempt|
It's obviously not a stretch -- or even necessary -- to say that both teams were dominant in their two wins, but the discrepancy is eye-opening, and if the Raptors' efficiency marks stay where they were in Games 3 and 4 when they travel to Cleveland for Game 5, the Cavs' 56.79% chance to make the NBA Finals is going to continue to plummet.
Even if the Raptors hang on to win the series, though, they will probably struggle to capture that elusive NBA Finals win. Our algorithm gives them just a 16.0% chance to win it all even after climbing out of the 0-2 hole.
But they don't seem to care about probability anyway.