Malik Tz | Mon 01/05/2017 - 16:25 EDT

NBA Playoffs Predictions: Cavaliers vs Raptors Eastern Semifinals Game 1

NBA Playoffs Predictions: Cavaliers vs Raptors Eastern Semifinals Game 1
The Toronto Raptors have been waiting all year for another run at the Cleveland Cavaliers after LeBron James dismissed the Dinos in six games during last year's eastern conference finals. Toronto travels to the Quicken Loans arena for a 7 PM EST tip-off on Monday, May 1st, hoping to steal a game on the road to begin the run-back.

Raptors at Cavaliers NBA Playoffs Odds

My Team's Next MatchToronto Raptors

  • Game 1, May 1: TOR at CLE
  • 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

Both the Raptors and the Cavaliers feature different lineups this time around, although Toronto’s starting core has received the biggest boost. LeBron will have to deal with Serge Ibaka and a healthy Jonas Valanciunas, making it more difficult to penetrate the paint. P.J. Tucker is another body that coach Casey can send out to annoy LeBron.

Not that it will be possible to stop the King from putting his indelible mark on the series. He singlehandedly lifted the Cavaliers to a sweep of the Indiana Pacers, including an historic 26-point comeback win in game three while Kylie Irving and Kevin Love sat on the bench. Coach Tyronn Lue surrounded LeBron with four three-and-d players during this incredible come-from-behind win, which is all The King needs to beat the east.

Stopping LeBron is the only way to stop the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 32.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 9 APG, along with 3 steals and 2 blocks on the defensive end. His shooting has also been clicking, especially compared to Kyrie and Kevin. LeBron shot 54% for the series, while Love and Irving hit less than 42% of their field goals, emphasizing the fact that King James is Cleveland.

There’s little chance that the Cavs will lose this series. Nonetheless, Toronto will likely push the Cavs to at least six games in this series. The Raptors have made changes over the past year with LeBron as the target. Tucker, Carroll and Ibaka represent GM Masai Ujiri’s best attempt at building a LeBron-slaying squad. These attempts should be applauded, even if they’re likely to fall short.

Part of LeBron’s genius includes raising the play of his teammates, including the other two members of their big three. For this series, Toronto will probably end up facing a rejuvenated Kyrie Irving, another potentially unguardable player on the Cavs. Cleveland will beat a spread of 6.5 in game one, and the two squads will probably score more than 209, so bet over on the total.

Cleveland Cavaliers (-310) Bodog

NBA Playoff Picks Today – May 1, 2017

San Antonio Spurs over Houston Rockets (-220)

At first glance, it may appear that the Houston Rockets will run all over the San Antonio Spurs because of how their first-round series played out. The Spurs allowed Memphis to score at a surprisingly efficient rate, while the Rockets completed a five-game rout of the Thunder by breaking down any semblance of Oklahoma City’s defense.

However, the Spurs were the league’s top team when defending the three, allowing only 23.7 attempts per game. The Rockets already had difficulty converting from long range during their first-round series, and they’ll have greater trouble pulling the trigger from deep against San Antonio. This doesn’t bode well for Houston, eliminating their greatest weapon. Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Lou Williams live beyond the arc, and they won’t make up for a lack of shooting with lockdown defense. Kawhi Leonard will feast against the Rockets, as will Danny Green, Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Even worse, Gregg Popovich has already beaten Mike D’Antoni three times in the playoffs, giving San Antonio the strategic edge. Expect the Spurs to win game one and hold home court, eventually moving on to the western conference finals in six games. 

Results / FixturesNBA

Category : Picks and Parlays

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