Toronto Raptors: Which teams threaten their championship hopes?

TORONTO, ON - MAY 21: Kyle Lowry
TORONTO, ON - MAY 21: Kyle Lowry /
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toronto raptors
toronto raptors /

Cleveland Cavaliers

Let’s just get this one out of the way. While LeBron James remains the king of the NBA, there are a lot of questions about his supporting cast.

The Cavs overhauled their roster at the trade deadline but no matter who is around him, James will have to be the reason this team can go far in the East. What should give the Toronto Raptors confidence is the fact Cleveland is struggling on the defensive side of the ball.

That was easily exposed by the Raptors themselves, who routed Cleveland 133-99 and started the conversation of them being among the elite teams in the NBA.

The Cavaliers rank 28th in defensive rating giving up 109.8 points per game, but since the trade deadline they have ranked 15th in the league. Offensively the Cavs rank fifth right behind Toronto with 110 points per game, but since the trade deadline they are ninth according to

It has taken time for the new additions to make their mark but if things start to come together, the Raptors will need to be careful. Everyone knows James is capable of putting a team on his back.

One way to beat the Cavs is with three-point shooting which was a problem for them in their most recent loss to the Denver Nuggets, who made 19 shots from beyond the arc. This was the third time this season Cleveland has allowed that many in a game and the sixth time in the last eight games they have allowed more than 10.

If the Raptors can get that going for them, their chances improve drastically. C.J. Miles has improved his three-point shooting, Ibaka has started to get into a groove and if Lowry can find consistency in his shooting along with Fred VanVleet, then Cleveland will be in tough.

While they do not pose as much of a threat as they did in past seasons, it is too early to write off the Cavaliers just yet. The Raptors could help with that, as they have two games left against Cleveland on Mar. 21 and Apr. 03.