The Cleveland Cavaliers are heavily favored in their series with the Toronto Raptors, but few expected the obliteration that occurred in the first game. Cleveland built a 66-44 lead by halftime and never looked threatened en route to a 115-84 victory over Toronto.
Part of the problem was the Raptors’ inability to keep Cleveland out of the lane. A perfect example of this included LeBron James making his first nine shots – all of which were within a couple feet of the rim.
Of course, some of this lethargy might be explained by Toronto having just a day off in between their 7-game series with Miami and playing the Cavs. Now that they’re settled into Cleveland and both teams are coming off last night’s game, can we expect a better performance from the Raptors? Moreover, can they at least beat the spread? Find out as we analyze Game 2 of this series below.
GTBets.eu line for Game 2 (May 19 at 8:30pm EST)
Cleveland -12 (-110)
Why the Raptors will cover the Spread
Based on the first contest, nobody’s opinion that Toronto is a massive underdog has changed. However, that certainly doesn’t mean this team won’t improve, especially when it comes to their shooting.
As a team, Toronto made just 42.1% of their shots, including a horrendous 5-for-24 (20.8%) from the three-point line. Kyle Lowry was a big part of this poor shooting effort as he made only 4-of-14 shots, including 0-of-7 from downtown. DeMarre Carroll (1-for-5), Terrence Ross (1-for-5) and Cory Joseph (1-for-6) didn’t shoot well either.
Cleveland is already the more-talented team, so hitting more shots will be key for Toronto. And DeMar DeRozan was at least up to the task, making 9-of-17 attempts for 18 points. If he and Lowry can both be on at the same time, then Toronto not only has a chance to cover the spread, but also win the game.
Another key for the Raptors will be getting to the free throw line. They did shoot 20 free throws, however, only four of these attempts came from the starting unit. What’s more troubling is that neither DeRozan nor Lowry made it to the line once. This has to change for Toronto, and these two must be more aggressive in driving to the hoop while not settling for jump shots.
One more area where the Raptors can improve is rebounding since they collected just 23 boards to Cleveland’s 45 last game. Expect Bismack Biyombo (4 rebounds) and Patrick Patterson (2 rebounds) to be far more active on the boards this time around. Assuming the Raptors can better control the glass and shoot well, then they have a good chance to cover the spread.
Why the Cavs will cover the Spread
12 points is a lot to cover no matter how heavily you’re favored. But you can justify the -12 spread when considering that Cleveland was fully in command of the first contest.
The Cavs, who earned the billing of a three-point-shooting team in their series with Atlanta, made their mark in the paint this time. Kyrie Irving (11-for-17) and LeBron (11-for-13) had no trouble getting to the hoop against a Toronto team that’s normally solid defensively. Even with off-nights from important players like JR Smith (1-for-5) and Tristan Thompson (1-for-4), Cleveland shot 55.4% from the floor.
Given how many points they scored inside, expect the Raptors to pack the paint this time around, allowing the Cavs’ three-point shooters to get more wide-open looks. This should allow Kevin Love, Channing Frye and Smith to get some clean three-pointers.
Another thing going in Cleveland’s favor is that they just seem to be the deeper team at this point. They have no major injuries and their bench rotation of Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, Matthew Dellavedova and Frye outplayed Ross, Joseph and James Johnson. There really doesn’t seem to be one area where the Raptors have an advantage at this point.
Prediction for Cavs vs Raptors Game 2
Cleveland has the home floor again and the same lineup going that obliterated Toronto in the first contest. However, the Cavs also don’t have much to improve upon from the first game, which could hurt them a little in Game 2. Meanwhile, the Raptors have all sorts of improvement to make, including rebounding, shooting and driving inside. We don’t think Toronto will win, but they may at least keep the game within 10 points or less.
Final Score: Cleveland 107 – Toronto 99
Betting Prediction: Bet on the Raptors to cover their +12 spread