Rogers' 10* TOP THURSDAY TICKET >> PERFECT 3-0 in NBA L3 Days!
Cleveland vs. Toronto,
05/03/2018 18:00 EDT,
Score: 128 - 110
Point Spread: +6½/-109 Cleveland
The set-up: The Cavaliers have knocked the Raptors out of the playoffs in each the last two postseasons, as the Cavaliers won the conference final in six games over the Raptors in 2016 and swept a semifinals meeting last season en route to their third consecutive conference crown. However, the Raptors were finally the favored team in 2018, as the teams met for Game 1 of this year's Eastern Conference semifinal series. If Game 1 is an indication, nothing much has changed. LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers once again got the better of the Toronto Raptors, winning 113-112. The Cavaliers will now attempt to maintain their postseason dominance over the Raptors with a chance tonight to take a commanding 2-0 series lead, before heading back home for Games 3 and 4.
Cleveland: LBJ recorded his 21st career playoff triple-double (26-11-13) as Cleveland erased a 13-point deficit in the second half and survived multiple chances for the Raptors to win late in regulation and again in the closing seconds of overtime. JR Smith (20) and Kyle Korver (19) came up big for the Cavs, who never once led in regulation. The Cavs take the court tonight having won nine of 11 playoff meetings with the Raptors over the last three postseasons. One reason being, that Cleveland has hit at least 13 three-pointers in all five playoff games against Toronto over the last two seasons.
Toronto: "A lot of things, we did to ourselves," head coach Dwane Casey told the media after the game. "I think we're a better team. We just didn't make the shots down the stretch. I know it sounds simplistic, but we had our open looks, had our opportunities, that we didn't cash in on, and some other things we could clean up defensively." Toronto has certainly heard all the talk of being owned by Cleveland and it seemed to lose its mental edge when the Cavaliers made things tight down the stretch on Tuesday. That said, center Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points and 21 rebounds to become the first player in franchise history with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a postseason game. However, the Raptors also committed 14 turnovers that led to 21 points for Cleveland, while forcing just six TOs.
The pick: The Raptors changed their approach in Game 1, trying for a more balanced attack and creating an athletic and effective bench. Why not, after being eliminated two years in a row by the Cleveland Cavaliers? However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. For as much as the Raptors controlled Game 1 at the Air Canada Centre, they could not close it out (note: the Raptors missed their final 11 field goal attempts in regulation!) and the Cavaliers eked out a 113-112 overtime victory. The Raptors shot 32.1 percent from beyond the arc (9-for-28) and while they shot 42.9 percent (39-for-91) from the floor overall, they shot only 20.8 percent (9-for-24) in the fourth quarter. I had Cleveland in Game 1 and will take the points again here, in Game 2. Make Cleveland a 10* play.