The Toronto Raptors hoped to come out with more fire after losing the opening game of their series with Cleveland by 31 points. For the most part, Toronto did have a better effort, but they still lost 108-89 in another blowout.
Some concern has been expressed about the Raptors’ star point guard, Kyle Lowry, who hasn’t looked like himself this series. He continued his poor performance in Game 2, hitting just 4-of-14 shots, including 1-for-8 from three-point range.
Toronto will be looking for a boost as they head home to the Air Canada Centre, where they were 32-9 during the regular season. But will home-court advantage be enough to reverse what has been a terrible series for this team so far? You can find out as we analyze Game 3 between the Raptors and Cavs.
GTBets.eu line for Game 2 (May 21 at 8:30pm EST)
Cleveland -5 (-110)
Why the Raptors will cover the Spread
With center Jonas Valančiūnas still out with an ankle injury, there’s no help on the way for Toronto. The only boost that the Raptors are getting is home court for the third contest. Will this be enough?
Much of this depends upon how well Toronto shoots because they’ve only hit 40% of their shots through the first two games. They’ve been particularly bad from beyond the arc, making only 14 of their 57 three-pointers (24.6%).
Reversing this troubling trend will mainly hinge on Lowry, who’s just 1-for-16 from three-point range in the series. The cameras and commentators focused on the All-Star as he went back to the locker room to “clear his head.” Obviously things aren’t going well for him now, but the good news is that he only has room to improve in the next contest.
One guy who doesn’t need to improve much, though, is DeMar DeRozan, who’s made 17 out of 35 shots (48.6%) in the first two games. This is a big upgrade for how he was shooting in series with the Pacers and Heat. Some of the bench players like James Johnson, Cory Joseph and Terrence Ross have also played pretty good.
Eventually shots will start falling for Toronto and give them an energy boost on defense, which has been another concern. When this happens, the Raptors have the talent to compete with Cleveland.
Why the Cavs will cover the Spread
Once again Cleveland came out and put together an excellent effort on both ends of the floor. LeBron James especially had a good night, recording a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Of course, LeBron hasn’t been the only Cavs player doing well since Kyrie Irving had yet another good night, scoring a team-high 26 points on 12-for-22 shooting. Kevin Love added 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting along with 8 free throws.
Besides scoring, Cleveland has also gained an edge on the boards and with turnovers. They grabbed 46 rebounds to Toronto’s 38 last game, which wasn’t as dominant as Game 2, but still enough to prevent second-chance points. They also turned the ball over just 9 times compared to the Raptors’ 12 turnovers.
We could go on about what Cleveland is doing right and the outstanding performances by some of their individuals. But to make a long story short, the Cavs just need to continue what they’re doing to pound this worn-down Raptors team.
Prediction for Cavs vs Raptors Game 3
Cleveland has covered large spreads of -10.5 and -12 in the first two contests, and now they only have to cover -5. Of course, the key question here is whether Toronto will hit shots any better on their home floor and draw energy from the crowd. We want to say yes, but it’s also hard to ignore the fact that Cleveland has won the Games 1 and 2 by an average of 25 points. So while we see this being a closer game, expect the Cavs to pull away at the end.
Final Score: Cavs 104 – Raptors 97
Betting Prediction: Bet on Cleveland to cover the -5 spread