NBA Playoffs Predictions: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors Eastern Semifinals Game 3
Cavaliers at Raptors NBA Playoffs Odds
- Game 1, May 1: TOR 105 at CLE 116
- Game 2, May 3: TOR 103 at CLE 125
- 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
The Toronto Raptors made appropriate decisions to begin game two, swapping JV out for Norman Powell in the starting lineup, similar to the series against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, coach Casey also swapped DeMarre Carroll with Patrick Patterson, which was a bit of a surprise given Carroll’s ability to annoy LeBron in the past.
None of these logical changes ended up helping the cause, especially on the perimeter, as the Cavs started the game by making eight consecutive three point shots. By the time the first half was over, the Cavaliers hit 10-15 from beyond the arc, heading into the locker room with a 14-point lead. The game was over in the third quarter when the Cavs stretched the lead beyond 20 points.
The final numbers were stark for Toronto: they let LeBron shoot 10-14 from the field, including 4-6 from three. As a team, the Cavaliers had a 54.7 FG%, including a 54.5% rate from the three point zone. Despite Toronto’s best defensive intentions, additions like Ibaka and Tucker haven't made much of a difference at all. The Raptors genuinely attempted to defend the King, and he barely noticed Toronto’s presence.
It gets worse: Kyle Lowry had his ankle messed up by a flying Norman Powell, who was thrown into Kyle’s legs by Tristan Thompson. Even if available for game three, Lowry’s impact will be limited. The other half of Toronto's all-star backcourt was noticeably invisible in game 2. After finishing fifth in the NBA for points per game, DeMar DeRozan shot 2-11 FGs and hit 1-3 free throws, completing the evening with a pathetic line of 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists over 31 minutes.
There's no reason to believe Toronto will turn things around and make this a competitive series. Bet on the Cavs to beat a spread of 4.5 points. Wagering over on a total of 214 makes sense given Cleveland’s ability to fill the bucket, and the Raptors inability to defend the basket.Cleveland Cavaliers -180) Bodog
NBA Playoff Picks Today - May 5, 2017
San Antonio Spurs over Houston Rockets (+175)
The San Antonio Spurs made the adjustments needed to quell the all-out attack that informs the Houston Rockets game plan. Instead of David Lee, who acquitted himself well against the Memphis Grizzlies, coach Popovich trotted Pau Gasol out as a starting four. Rather than worry about defending against James Harden and Houston sharpshooters, Pop focused on improving the Spurs offense.
This took the pressure off the defence by reducing the number of Houston transition opportunities available due to missed Spurs shots. The Spurs offence during game one was atrocious, which didn't allow San Antonio to set up their half-court defence. Unlike game 1, the Spurs were able to keep up with an early game 2 onslaught by Houston, expending the Rockets fuel before the third quarter was over.
The result was the first sub-100-point game for the Rockets during these playoffs, while the Spurs offence feasted to the tune of 121 points. Game three in Houston probably won't be a blowout, and the Spurs will regain home court advantage by stealing at least one road game from the Rockets. Will all due respect to coach Mike D’Antoni, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden, the real NBA MVP is Gregg Popovich, who keeps finding ways to win.
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