*10* Cavs/Raptors POWER-HOUSE (6:05 ET Start!) ~ 6-1 NBA Playoff Run!
Cleveland vs. Toronto,
05/03/2018 18:00 EDT,
Score: 128 - 110
Total: -115/+212 Over
10* Over Cavaliers/Raptors (6:05 ET): It was a familiar story for Toronto in Game 1 as they once again failed to beat LeBron James, this time doing so in one of the most excruciating ways possible. That is, they lost in overtime (by a single point) after never trailing in regulation. To add insult to injury, James didn't even perform that well (though he did have a triple double). By his own admission, it was "probably one of my worst games of the season." James shot just 12 for 30 from the field, including 1 for 8 from three-point range, and additionally went 1 for 6 from the FT line. He was only 3 for 15 in the fourth quarter & overtime, his most misses from the field in a 4Q/OT in his entire career. And Cleveland still won the game. The key was an epic collapse from the Raptors as down the stretch they missed 16 of 17 shots at one point. Neither team shot better than 43% for the game.
For the first time in these playoffs, Game 1 saw a James' teammate score at least 20 pts in a game. It was J.R. Smith of all people, who like most Cavs not named LeBron had been having a poor playoffs so far. Overall, five Cavaliers scored in double figures, led by James' 23. One of them was NOT Kevin Love, who continues to shoot poorly (was 3 for 13 in Gm 1). It would be easy to dismiss the Smith contribution as unlikely to repeat itself in Game 2, but the fact of the matter is that LeBron's supporting cast has been so poor thus far in the playoffs that you can't help but think the collective effort WILL improve. As a team, Cleveland averaged 110.9 PPG in the regular season (2nd in the East, only to Toronto) and was 5th in offensive efficiency. James is also very likely to see his own shooting percentage improve for Game 2.
If there is hope for Toronto, it's that Cleveland also ranked 28th in defensive efficiency during the regular season. They were ahead of only Sacramento and Phoenix. I wrote about this a lot in the first round series vs. Indiana where the Cavs somewhat shockingly allowed more than 101 pts only once. But in Game 1 Tuesday, there were signs of regression despite the Raptors inability to hit a shot late. What was so frustrating from the Toronto perspective is that so many of the missed shots were wide-open. At home, it's difficult to envision them missing those same opportunities again. After all, this is a team that averages 112.5 PPG at home and ranked third in the league in offensive efficiency (behind only Houston and Golden State) in the regular season. I see both teams shooting better here in Game 2 than they did in Game 1 when they each finished w/ 105 pts at the end of regulation anyway. For the season, Cleveland still allows 109.2 PPG. 10* Over Cavaliers/Raptors