Cavaliers lead series 2-0
The Cleveland Cavaliers have dominated the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals and look to record their 11th straight victory this postseason when they visit the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Cleveland won the first two games of the series by an average of 25 points to become the sixth team in NBA history to start the postseason with 10 or more victories.
The San Antonio Spurs (12 in 2012) and Los Angeles Lakers (11 in both 1989 and 2001) are the only teams to begin the playoffs with more consecutive wins than the red-hot Cavaliers. “I don’t think it feels like a streak,” James told reporters. “It feels like we won one game, we won the next game. We’ve taken one step at a time. We’ve tried to take care of business.” The Raptors are returning home but there are few observers expecting them to make it a series after the way they were outclassed in Cleveland. “I don’t think our guys have quit. I refuse to believe that,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said after Game 2. “We’ve won 56 (regular-season) games. We’ve been down before. We’ve had some rough patches and we’ve bounced back. I think this is the first time in the playoffs we’ve lost two games in a row, so this team will bounce back. I believe in them and they’ve got to believe in themselves, and I think they do.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The Cavaliers destroyed the Raptors in the first two games of the Eastern Conference final, and heading up to Canada for Game 3 the books opened with the Cavs as 5.5-point road favorites. The line did drop down to Raptors +5 on Friday morning but it appears, at the time of publication of this preview, that the line is beginning to move back to 5.5 at most books. The total opened at 197.5 and by Friday morning the books moved it up a full point to 198.5. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (67-25, 44-45-3 ATS, 46-46 O/U): James was superb with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Game 2 for his 15th career playoff triple-double and he also moved into fourth place on the all-time playoffs scoring list with 5,255 points, passing Shaquille O’Neal (5,250). James (23.5 average on 18-of-26 shooting) and point guard Kyrie Irving (26.5 on 23-of-39 shooting) have torched the Raptors at will as Cleveland averaged 111.5 points over the first two games. Power forward Kevin Love is averaging just 16.5 points and 4.5 rebounds after posting double-doubles in each of the Cavaliers’ first eight postseason games.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (64-34, 50-48 ATS, 48-49-1 O/U): Point guard Kyle Lowry averaged just nine points in the first two games of the series and is 8-of-28 shooting, including 1-of-15 from 3-point range. He had seemingly put his postseason shooting slump behind him when he averaged 35.5 points over the final two games of the second-round series against Miami but he was a nonfactor in the two blowout losses in Cleveland. “I’m super confident,” Lowry told reporters. “I missed countless 3s that I thought were good and that I made last series. That’s why I’m not down on myself. We’ve got a game on Saturday, and I know I’m going to be much more effective.”
* Cavaliers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Conference Finals games.
* Raptors are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Over is 24-6 in Raptors last 30 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.
* Home team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
* Under is 21-5-1 in the last 27 meetings in Toronto.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers wagering public is favoring the Cavaliers at a rate of 61 percent. Over is the popular pick on the totals board picking up 70 percent of the action. View full consensus data here.
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