The Cleveland Cavaliers will be trying to get their first win in Canada during the Eastern Conference Finals, and eliminate the Raptors from the playoffs when they meet at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Saturday night. The game is scheduled to begin at 8:30 PM. ET.
Cleveland won the first two games of the series, which they lead 3-2, and won their 10 th consecutive playoff game. After their blowout wins against the Raptors, most basketball experts expected them to sweep their opponents.
However, when the series returned to Toronto, it was a different story. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, who had struggled shooting the ball, found their groove and led their team to victory. The Raptors also got a lot of help from Bismack Biyombo, who was a defensive force of nature, blocking shots and grabbing rebounds.
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The Raptors were able to even the series at home, and went into game five feeling good about their chances. In game 5, the Cavaliers regained their shooting touch and won a very easy game against the Raptors.
The Raptors shot less than 40 percent in game 5, and had only two players in double figures while the Cavaliers shot over 50 percent and had four players in double figures. Cleveland also shot 47 percent from 3-point range, mostly because the Raptors gave them a lot of open looks while trying to defend the basket.
With their backs now against the wall, Toronto has to be hoping that their hot shooting at home continues, or else they will be taking a vacation until next season.
If Toronto plans on extending this series, the Raptors have to play better perimeter defense and also improve their shot selection. The team as a whole has struggled from the perimeter during the playoffs, and need to find a way to drive to the basket and get easier shots.
During the series, LeBron James has pretty much had his way with Toronto’s defense, but he also had a lot of help from Kevin Love and Kyrie Irvin in the games that they won. In their two losses, Love and Irvin didn’t shoot the ball well, and the Raptors were able to capitalize on it.
In game 5, Love and Irvin were 8-10 and 9-17 respectively, which made things easy for Cleveland. Toronto has to figure out how to take both players out of their rhythm in Game 6 to give themselves a better chance of winning the game.
The good news for the Raptors is the fact that center J. Valanciunas is back from an injury that forced him to miss a couple of games. With Valanciunas back in the lineup, the Raptors have another big man that can help protect the rim.
Game Lines and Odds
The Raptors have played well at home this series but some of that is a case of being lucky instead of being good. Their inconsistencies will catch up to them in game 6 and they will be eliminated on Saturday night.
Play: Cavaliers -6.5 @ BetOnline.ag