The NBA playoffs 2016 series between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference and the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference appear to promise two unexpected teams to face off in the Finals this year. With early favorites, the LeBron James squad and the Stephen Curry team, struggling to save themselves from elimination, the groups of Kevin Durant and Kyle Lowry continue to surge forward in their quest to bring home the crown.
The NBA community was put to shame when the Russell Westbrook team stunned Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green in the playoffs. With the record-breaking performance of the Golden State Warriors during the regular season, where they broke the 72-game winning streak of the Chicago Bulls under the reign of Michael Jordan, it came as a shock when suffered blowout losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers are also in danger of losing their Eastern Conference dominance to the DeMar DeRozan squad. Following their impressive playoffs performance this season, the LeBron James team's dominance came to a screeching halt when the Toronto Raptors fought back and evened the series record. Could this be the end of the LeBron James and Stephen Curry era?
"I think we have a shot," said Lowry of the Toronto Raptors' chances of beating the Cleveland Cavaliers this NBA playoffs 2016. He added, "We've always believed in our team, and I just think now we have a chance to go out and do it."
If Dwane Casey is to be asked of the Toronto Raptors' secret weapon, the head coach might point at Lowry. Throughout the season, Lowry carried the team to greatness, working alongside DeMar DeRozan. Will he be able to pull off another great feat?
"He's a little pit bull," Casey said of Lowry. He added, "I mean, you question him, and that's when he rises to the occasion. I've seen it so many times. Throughout the playoffs, everybody has second-guessed him, and he's always bounced back. He's done that his whole life, through high school, through college, through his first few years in the NBA, and it's made him the All-Star that he is."
Following their devastating Game 5 loss to the Kyrie Irving team, the next game becomes the most crucial match up the Toronto Raptors will play this NBA season. While the defeat was disappointing, the Kyle Lowry squad now aims to regroup to hopefully win the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"At this time of year it's not X's and O's," Casey said. He added, "It's about playing with force, playing smart, playing together. It's nothing they were doing other than playing at a higher clip, a quicker clip on both ends of the floor, and we didn't meet that."