NBA Playoff Picks — Game 2: Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors

The Cleveland Cavaliers were seemingly in a pretty vulnerable position in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Toronto Raptors, and indeed, the Raptors led the game from start, almost to the finish. It’s the “almost” part of it that ultimately didn’t work for them, as they missed their last eleven shots in regulation time and succumbed in overtime. So now the Cavs can go up two games to nothing as these teams get together in an early start – 6:05 PM ET at the Air Canada Centre. BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice to afford them better value in the odds, and then get to continue their action after the opening tip, thanks to what is available through Live Betting Ultra.

In the thrilling 113-112 overtime victory, LeBron James, who had expressed that he was tired coming into the series, did not necessarily dominate but registered a triple double nonetheless. But he was only 12 of 30 from the field, so offense had to come from other places. And his Cleveland teammates did indeed come through; Kyle Korver and JR Smith had five triples apiece, and Tristan Thompson came off the bench with 14 points and a dozen rebounds. Jeff Green and newcomers Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson also played key roles as the reserves had 37 points.
For Toronto, it’s just one more episode of frustration with this Cavalier team that has beaten them the last two seasons in the playoffs. They have now lost seven straight post-season games to Cleveland. And they were not able to run the Cavs off the three-point line like they had hoped; Cleveland was 14-35 from downtown (40%), even though they were only 41.2% overall.
Now we have a short turnaround once again, and LeBron played 47 of the 53 minutes Tuesday’s game lasted. So he will need a lot of support again.
In the odds at BetAnySports upon which our NBA playoff picks will be made, the Raptors are once again laying points:
Toronto Raptors  -6.5
Cleveland Cavaliers  +6.5
Over 212.5 points  -110
Under 212.5 points  -110
Even with Thompson playing considerable minutes, the Cavs were not able to slow down Jonas Valanciunas to any satisfactory degree. he had 21 points and 21 rebounds, and Toronto really needed that, because they were not knocking down shots from beyond the arc. It has been their philosophy to get as many triples in the air as possible, but they were just 9 of 28 on the game. The Raptors’ bench did not shoot all that well either (10-27 from the field), so there is an area of improvement. Fred VanVleet, the leader of the second unit, had only one trey in five attempts.
LeBron did not play as much of a part in shooting the ball as he did in the previous series against Indiana, as he took less than 30% of the shots. Coach Tyronn Lue was using some of the newly-acquired team members on the floor together, and maybe that is a good way to go moving forward. How James’ minutes are being managed will be interesting to see. The Cavaliers can only hope that they take care of the ball as well as they did in Game 1, when they had 25 assists with only one turnover. Could this be one of those situations where one team simply has the other’s number? The pattern of many a playoff series is that one team makes adjustments after losing. But this still may be too many points to be laying.
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