NBA Playoffs Predictions: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors Eastern Semifinals Game 2
Raptors at Cavaliers NBA Playoffs Odds
- Game 1, May 1: TOR 105 at CLE 116
- Game 2, May 3: TOR at CLE
- Game 3, May 5: CLE at TOR
- Game 4, May 7: CLE at TOR
- Game 5*, May 9: TOR at CLE
- Game 6*, May 11: CLE at TOR
- Game 7*, May 14: TOR at CLE
No one knows why coach Dwane Casey decided to start Jonas Valanciunas during game one of the series, especially after the big man’s effectiveness coming off the bench against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Cleveland Cavaliers burst out of the gates running circles around the Raptors, raining threes and organizing elaborate alley-oops on transition.
Jonas can’t be blamed for the small ball evolution of the NBA because he was taught to play as a classic center – mostly in the paint. When Valanciunas gets dragged out to the three-point line, the entire Raptors defense struggles. In transition, Jonas puts in the effort, but his feet simply can’t keep up with quicker lineups, eliminating his presence in the paint.
The Cavaliers had two unguardable players on the hardwood during game one. Kyrie Irving woke up and decided to crush Raptors guards, utilizing the best handles in the NBA to drive, dish, and get to the rim with ease. Uncle Drew scored 24 points and distributed 10 assists, hitting 3-8 from beyond the arc. LeBron was his usual unstoppable self, scoring 35 points and 10 rebounds on 13-23 shooting. Kevin Love kicked in 18 points for the cause, and Cavs shooters hit 14-34 from deep, good for a 41.2% clip.
If coach Casey decides to start Jonas again, this series might become extremely non-competitive, unlike last year’s eastern conference finals. Going small represents the only way the Raptors can possibly beat the Cavaliers. Serge Ibaka was acquired specifically to fill the role of a stretch four and small ball center, while Norman Powell injects the Raps lineup with energy every time his number’s called.
Regardless of the changes made on court, the Cavaliers will probably still win, so go ahead on pick them to beat a spread of 7.5. Expect another high-scoring game as well, so bet over on a total of 214.Cleveland Cavaliers (-360) Bodog
NBA Playoff Picks Today – May 3, 2017
San Antonio Spurs over Houston Rockets (-235)
The entire NBA watched with slack jaws as the Houston Rockets completely obliterated the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Coach Mike D’Antoni witnessed his Houston Rockets at their very finest, placing the game beyond reach well before halftime. The Spurs couldn’t prevent James Harden and the Rockets from shooting a large volume of threes and hitting them at an elite rate.
Six Houston shooters tallied double digits and three scored 20 or more points. As a team, the Rockets hit 22-50 three pointers, including 5-10 from Trevor Ariza, 4-10 from Ryan Anderson, 3-6 from Eric Gordon, and 2-4 for Lou Williams. The Spurs offense was missing in inaction, scoring 39 in the first half en route to the worst home playoff loss in San Antonio history.
Similar to the Raptors, the Spurs will have to adjust and play small to prevent Houston from controlling the perimeter. While not his first choice, coach Gregg Popovich will devise ways to make this type of lineup work. The second game will tilt in San Antonio’s favor as the Spurs rebound from a franchise-worst to defend their second game on home court.
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