Kevin Love Says Serge Ibaka Makes Cavaliers vs. Raptors Rematch Different

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2017

Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9), of Congo, looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, March 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Kevin Love is expecting the Toronto Raptors to provide a tougher playoffs test this time around, thanks partially to the addition of Serge Ibaka.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star said Ibaka, who was acquired from the Orlando Magic before the trade deadline, provides a "different dynamic."

"He brings a ton of energy," Love said Saturday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "Played really well in Round 1, so he just gives them a whole different look and a guy who has a ton of playoff experience coming from Oklahoma City. Obviously getting traded from Orlando, but all his playoff experience being there and playing in a lot of big games. He really helps them."

The Cavaliers and Raptors are set to battle in the second round starting Monday in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto took the eventual NBA champions to six games, although the lack of a third scorer was a major issue.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 43.2 points per game in the series, but no one else on the roster averaged more than 7.5 PPG.

In addition to the energy and experience Love described, Ibaka represents another scoring option after averaging 14.2 PPG with Toronto during the regular season. He added 12.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in the first-round against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Although the Cavaliers are still favored to win the Eastern Conference, per Odds Shark, Ibaka could help the Raptors pull off the second-round upset.