The Cavaliers completed their sweep of the Raptors on Monday night, winning Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup in blowout fashion. It was a crushing loss for a Raptors team that implemented a new system in the offseason to better prepare themselves for LeBron James and the Cavs, only to suffer the same defeat as the season before.
From Kevin Love's emergence to the fall of the best bench in the NBA, here are five stats you need to know from the series...
41.1: The Cavaliers' 3-point percentage
Since James returned to Cleveland in 2014, the Cavs have found success giving him the ball and surrounding him with at least three 3-point shooters at all times. It makes the Cavaliers vulnerable when his teammates aren't able to space the floor for him at a high rate - their series against the Pacers being the perfect example - but it makes them almost unstoppable when they are.
After making 32.2 percent of their 3-point attempts in the first round, the Cavaliers made 41.1 percent of their 3-point attempts as a team in the second round. Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith paved the way for them in that regard by making a combined 24 of their 38 attempts (63.2 percent) from deep. Having them set screens for James before popping to the 3-point line was one of the ways they got going against the Raptors, as it forced the defense to choose between switching a less capable defender onto James and giving up a wide open 3-point attempt.
13.8: How many turnovers the Raptors averaged per game
Turnovers turned out to be a huge source of offense for the Cavs.
The Raptors averaged 13.8 turnovers per game against the Cavaliers, and Cleveland turned those mistakes into 17.8 points per game. (For perspective, the Pelicans are currently the only team sacrificing more points off turnovers in the second round of the playoffs.) Even though the Raptors turned the ball over at a similar rate in the regular season, it's simply too many to give up to a team led by James.
It haunted the Raptors in Game 3, for example, when they committed 17 turnovers and lost by only two points.
Making matters worse for the Raptors was the Cavaliers averaging only 8.0 turnovers per game and limiting them to less than a point per turnover. No other team has taken care of the ball that well in the second round.
0: How many 3-pointers DeMar DeRozan made in the series
DeRozan proved to be a capable 3-point shooter during the regular season. He made 89 3-pointers in 80 games, shattering his previous career-high of 64 3-pointers in 79 games. He made only 31.0 percent of his attempts from distance on the season, but he was a legitimate threat on catch-and-shoots (34.8 percent) compared to pull-ups (25.6 percent).
It was believed to be enough to solve some of the problems that have plagued the Raptors in the postseason because teams could previously get away with abandoning DeRozan on the 3-point line knowing he wouldn't look to shoot.Unfortunately for the Raptors, DeRozan's success from the 3-point line didn't carry over to the second round of the playoffs.
DeRozan took nine 3-pointers against the Cavaliers, and he missed all of those attempts - he was 0-for-5 on catch-and-shoots and 0-for-4 on pull-ups from the perimeter. While it was more than he attempted in last season's series against the Cavs, there were still several times when he turned down open 3-point attempts to settle for difficult pull-ups instead.
It brought back memories of the Raptors of old, not the Raptors of new.
25.0: How many points Kevin Love averaged in Games 2-4
The story after the Cavaliers' first-round series was James didn't have any help. Love in particular struggled against the Pacers, with averages of 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game on 33.3 percent shooting from the field. He wasn't much better in Game 1 of their second-round series against the Raptors, but he looked more like a five-time All-Star in Games 2-4.
Love averaged 25.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in those games, doing so on 54.2 percent shooting from the field and 38.5 percent shooting from the perimeter. His ability to space the floor at the center position opened up driving lanes for James and others by drawing Toronto's best rim protectors out of the paint, and his ability to manufacture his own shot in the post became a factor when smaller defenders switched onto him.
Another good sign for the Cavs? They outscored the Raptors by 8.1 points per 100 possessions when Love was on the court without James in those games. It was quite the difference from the first round, when the Pacers outscored the Cavaliers by 18.0 points per 100 possessions with Love on the court and James on the bench.
-8.4: The net rating of the Raptors' bench
With a net rating of 8.3 points per 100 possessions, the Raptors had the best bench in the NBA during the regular season. Their all-bench lineup of Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl in particular destroyed teams, making them one of the most dominant five-man units in the league. It made for a fascinating case test coming into the playoffs, as teams often shorten their rotations in the postseason, not rely on their benches to swing games in their favor.
In the end, the bench wasn't able to make the difference. The reserves were ineffective for most of their first-round series against the Wizards (-2.6 net rating) and were even worse against the Cavaliers (-8.4). The "Bench Mob" turned out to be one of Toronto's most successful lineups against the Cavs, and yet that group only appeared in two games and couldn't make up for how much the starters struggled.