USA TODAY Sports
Cavaliers lead series 3-2
The Cleveland Cavaliers have hung three fierce beatings on Toronto but the outcomes have been different when the Eastern Conference finals have been staged in Canada. The Raptors will attempt to force a Game 7 when they host Cleveland on Friday, while the Cavaliers will be looking to clinch their second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
Cleveland took a 3-2 series lead with a 116-78 dismantling of the Raptors on Wednesday and its three wins are by an average of 29.3 points. “You can see that we’ve won three at home and they’ve won two,” Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving said at the postgame press conference. “Game 6 will definitely be a great atmosphere that I’m looking forward to, and my teammates are as well.” The Raptors gained momentum with their wins in Game 3 and 4 but the good vibes evaporated quickly in the Game 5 effort that was described as “embarrassing” by coach Dwane Casey. “Our backs are against the wall, but we’re a resilient group,” Toronto small forward DeMarre Carroll told reporters. “We’ve been in this same situation the last two series, so we know what we need to do. There’s no more talking, no more motivational speeches. You just show up.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: With their season on the line, the Raptors open as 6-point home dogs against the Cavaliers and the line has yet to move off that number. The total has been bet down one point since opening, going from 197 to 196. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (68-27 SU, 45-47-3 ATS, 47-48 O/U): Power forward Kevin Love rediscovered his shooting stroke and scored 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting in Game 5 after averaging 6.5 points on 5-of-23 shooting over the previous two games. “Just Kevin Love being Kevin Love, he’s been playing this way throughout the whole postseason,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said at a press conference. “He had two bad games, two bad shooting games, and we made a big deal of it. But Kevin is one of the top 10 players in this league. Nothing that he does amazes me.” Small forward LeBron James and point guard Kyrie Irving each scored 23 points on a night in which the Cavaliers shot a blistering 57.1 percent from the field.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (66-35 SU, 52-49 ATS, 49-51-1 O/U): The backcourt of shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (14 points) and point guard Kyle Lowry (13) combined for just 27 points in Game 5 after putting up 67 in the previous game. Lowry’s play has been superb at home (27.5 average, 8-of-15 from 3-point range) and atrocious on the road (10.3 average, 2-of-19 on 3s). “I have to play more aggressive from the jump, and I’ve done it two games at home and not enough on the road,” Lowry said at a postgame press conference. “I don’t know what it is because I always feel like I can get mine on the road and I know my teammates are going to need me on the road.”
* Home team is 8-0 ATS in the last eight meetings.
* Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games.
* Under is 4-1 in Cavaliers last five games playing on one days rest.
* Over is 4-1 in Raptors last five home games versus a team with a winning road record.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-four percent of bettors are giving the early edge to the favored Cavaliers to end the series. Bettors also like the Over in Game 6.
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