Editorial by Graydon Fox
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On Tuesday, May 1st, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be on the road to take on the Toronto Raptors in game one of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Raptors 106.2 – Cavaliers 103.1 with an over/under of 209.3.
Statistical Breakdown (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Raptors +7.8 (2nd) > Cavaliers +1.0 (14th)
Points per game: Raptors 111.7 (4th) > Cavaliers 110.9 (5th)
Points allowed per game: Raptors 103.9 (6th) > Cavaliers 109.9 (26th)
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Cavaliers 47.6% (5th) > Raptors 47.2% (7th)
Three Point Percentage: Cavaliers 37.2% (6th) > Raptors 35.8% (18th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Raptors 44.9% (5th) > Cavaliers 47.4% (28th)
Turnovers committed per game: Raptors 12.7 (4th) > Cavaliers 13.3 (12th)
Turnovers forced per game: Raptors 13.7 (12th) > Cavaliers 12.9 (27th)
Rebounds per game: Cavaliers 23.4 (11th) > Raptors 44.0 (13th)
Assists per game: Wizards 25.2 (4th) > Raptors 24.3 (6th)
For the third consecutive year, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors will be meeting in the postseason. It took everything Cleveland had to dispatch a feisty Indiana Pacers team in seven games. Lebron James once again carried the Cavaliers on his broad shoulders and was able to help his team advance despite not receiving a single 20-point game from any of his teammates. James averaged an astonishing 34.4 PPG on 55% shooting, 10.1 RPG, and 7.7 APG against the Pacers. Obviously moving forward, the Cavaliers will have to get more production from their role players especially Kevin Love who only averaged 11.3 PPG and 9.3 RPG in the Indiana series. This postseason, the Cavaliers are averaging 94.9 points per game (16th) and allowing 100.6 (3rd).
The Raptors were certainly pushed as well by the Washington Wizards but they were ultimately able to advance in six games. Demar Derozan was tremendous against the Wizards averaging 26.7 PPG and 4.8 APG. Kyle Lowry was steady averaging 17.2 PPG and 8.3 APG. Toronto is very deep and was clearly the best Eastern Conference team all season long. The Raptors will rely heavily on their bench unit which ranked 5th in scoring (41.3 PPG) in the regular season. In the playoffs, the Raptors are averaging 109.2 points per game (4th) and allowing 107.2 (11th).
This season the Cavaliers are (2-1) against Raptors. Though Lebron James is playing at an unbelievable level, it’s fair to wonder how long he can keep it up after averaging over 40 minutes per game in the Pacers series. Nobody on the Cavaliers roster has proven they can step up and assist James as the team’s secondary scoring option. The Raptors will be the more well rested team Tuesday night and will be playing at home where they are an NBA best (38-7) this season. Cleveland will keep it close in the first half but heavy legs will be their undoing and the Raptors will win by double digits.
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