For the past three seasons the Cleveland Cavaliers have dominated the Eastern Conference winning the Conference title three consecutive years and the NBA title once.
This year feels different with the supporting cast not stepping up effectively for LeBron James. Now 33 LeBron is going to eventually run into a team that he can't defeat almost single-handedly.
The Toronto Raptors hope that they are that team when they open their second round match up against the Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Toronto closed out the Washington Wizards in six games on Friday and that extra couple of days rest could be the difference in the Raptors knocking Cleveland out of the playoffs.
The Cavaliers and the Raptors played three times during the regular campaign with Cleveland winning twice and Toronto once, with, perhaps significantly, the home team winning every contest.
The Raptors had the best home record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season at 34-7, tied with the Houston Rockets for the best in the NBA.
Those defeats were a mixed bad for Toronto as they fell to the Wizards, the Miami Heat, the Golden State Warriors, the Utah Jazz, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Air Canada Centre.
The latter two had a sense of the Raptors just cruising down the stretch, rather than seriously worrying about their record.
With Cleveland fading, the Boston Celtics plagued by injury and the Philadelphia 76ers young and untested in the postseason, this might just be the year for Toronto.
It's hard to envision the Raptors beating a fully healthy Boston side or the 76ers next year as they gain experience. Never was the need for the Raptors to strike while the proverbial iron is hot.
Cleveland are 4/9 to win the Eastern Conference. Toronto are 4999/1 while the 76ers are 8/1.
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