Helin: Cavs Should Be Nervous; Raptors Should Be Confident

The Cavs could lose to the Pacers, Kurt Helin says, and the Raptors can beat either one of them

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 20, 2018 - 8:48 am

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With the Cavs trailing the Pacers 1-0 in their first-round playoff series, LeBron James did what an all-time great would do: he seized control and dominated from start to finish. Indeed, James had 46 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to lead Cleveland to a series-tying win.

The only problem? The Cavs won by three.

“I’d be really nervous if I were them,” NBC Sports ProBasketballTalk managing editor Kurt Helin said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They won Game 2, but you think about what happened: LeBron was unbelievably hot – just molten-lava hot – during that game so he goes off for 46. He’s just on fire. They get much better play out of that starting lineup with Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith. They found something. That’s a really strong offensive lineup with a lot of guys who can score and it’s going to be tough to defend that group. And, by the way, Victor Oladipo was in foul trouble.”

Oladpio picked up two quick fouls in the first minute of the game and was forced to the bench. He still finished with a team-high 22 points and a team-high six assists.

“Nate McMillan sat him to much and too long, but he only played 28 minutes and it was still a close game at the end,” Helin said. “They had a chance to tie that thing late and they weren’t able to. So everything seemed to go right – or better – for Cleveland, and it was a game. Now this thing goes back to Indiana. i thought that Cleveland would handle this series. Now I’m thinking this is a six- or seven-game series that could flip either way. I think the Pacers have a shot in this series.”

Games 3 and 4 are Friday and Sunday in Indianapolis.

Toronto, meanwhile, is up 2-0 on Washington. Game 3 is Friday.

“They got to be looking at Cleveland right now thinking, ‘We can beat these guys. Look at them. We can beat them or Indiana,’” Helin said. “I think you’ve got a really confident Toronto team going forward against the Wizards. I think Toronto is confident now that they are the best team in the East – and I think they might be. This might be their window. Boston’s not good with all the injuries. LeBron’s got a weak supporting cast. I’m not convinced that, as good as Philadelphia is, that they’re ready yet. If you’re Toronto, this is your window. This is your year – and I think they’re going to take advantage of it.”