The Toronto Raptors simply can’t win a playoff game in Cleveland. That has been established, which is what happened in last year’s NBA Playoffs. Can the Raptors at least make this a series? They return home down 2-0 – both in blowout fashion – for Friday’s Game 3 and the Raptors are slight NBA betting underdogs.
Before this series, the Cavs and Raptors last met during the regular season in April, with Toronto winning the matchup 98-93 in Cleveland. But it seems that the postseason is a bit to much for the Raptors.
Cleveland at Toronto NBA Playoffs Lines & Game 3 Preview
Why Bet On Cleveland?
Uh, why not? The Cavs have barely been tested in winning both games in this series and are 6-0 in the 2017 playoffs. The Cavaliers are the 3rd team in NBA Playoff history to win their first 6 playoff games while allowing at least 100 points in each of the 6 games (1956-57 Hawks and 1984-85 Lakers).
Cleveland took Game 2 125-103. LeBron James lit up the Raptors up for a game-high 39 points, making 10-of- 14 FGs and 15-of- 21 FTs with four 3-pointers, six boards, four assists, three steals and two blocks. LeBron turned his left ankle in the first half after stepping on P.J. Tucker’s foot, but he never left the game and it didn’t seem to bother him.
James scored 19 points in the first half alone and wound up passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place all-time in postseason scoring. James is now just 211 points shy of passing Michael Jordan for the most points scored in playoff history. So if LeBron gets to the NBA Finals again, he should pass MJ.
The Cavaliers are 9-0 in their last 9 playoff games. In those, James is averaging 34.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.1 assists. James is 19-0 in playoff series' when his team is leading a series 2-0. Kyrie Irving handed out a playoff career-high 11 assists during the Cavs’ Game 2 win, adding adding 22 points (6-of- 19 FGs, 7-of- 7 FTs) and two steals in 30 minutes. Irving dished out 10 assists in Game 1. Kevin Love was quiet in 21 minutes on Wednesday, scoring nine points on 4-of- 9 shooting with seven rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue praised J.R. Smith for his defensive effort against DeMar DeRozan in Game 2. Prior to Smith checking out for good in the fourth quarter, DeRozan had just one point and was 0-of- 9 from the field.
“J.R. definitely made himself into a two-way player,” Lue said. “We said it all last year, said it in the offseason, and because of injuries, he didn't get much of a rhythm for the regular season. But I feel like he”s back in form where he left off last year in the postseason.”
Why Bet On Toronto?
Well, the Raptors did win two home games last year in the East Finals vs. Cleveland. The Raptors have no chance if DeRozan, the team’s leading scorer during the season, doesn’t get going. DeRozan scored just five points on 2-of- 11 shooting in Game 2 and put up only one point in the first three quarters, and by then, the game was decided. That point came on a free throw after a technical foul.
“It sucks. It sucks. To lose like we did and play like I did sucks. It’s frustrating," DeRozan said. "Now just have the idle time of having to wait until Friday night [Game 3] to redeem yourself.”
In last season’s conference finals, DeRozan led the Raptors by averaging 23 points and shooting 50 percent against the Cavs. They clearly made slowing him a priority coming into this series. Kyle Lowry sprained his left ankle during Wednesday’s lopsided Game 2, finishing with 20 points, two 3-pointers, five assists and one rebound in 30 minutes. Lowry did return after Patrick Patterson crashed into his left leg early in the second half, but he was in obvious pain and checked out for good with his team facing a big deficit late in the third quarter.
“It was kind of scary. It’s painful, but I’m not going to complain about it. I'm going to get treatment, and I’m going to get ready to play in Game 3,” Lowry said.
Jonas Valanciunas shifted to a bench role on Wednesday, scoring 23 points and adding five rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. Raptors coach Dwane Casey said that his team needed to “manufacture points” and he opted for a small starting lineup in Game 2 that included Patrick Patterson and Norman Powell. Valanciunas was forced to defend Channing Frye with the second unit, giving up nearly as many points as he scored.
Patterson started Game 2 but had just three points on 1-of- 3 shooting in 18 minutes. Powell had eight points but played well enough to potentially start again in Game 3.
Cleveland at Toronto NBA Playoffs Betting Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers
I was going to pick Toronto but now that Lowry’s less than 100 percent, give the points.