Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors: Lineups, preview & prediction 5/1/18

May JohnsonMay 02, 2018

The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to visit the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

The Toronto Raptors have the game they wanted in round two. The Cavs' average margin of victory in the series a year ago was 15.3 points and they made at least 13 3s in all four games. But entering the playoffs, despite the lackluster year, they were very confident. Raptors rookie OG Anunoby might be the primary defender on James, who averaged 41.8 points in four first-round wins and drew 8.9 fouls a game against Indiana.

LeBron James has been tremendous throughout this series, but hasn't been able to finish off the Pacers yet.

James posted his third 40-point game of the series in Sunday's decisive Game 7, a 105-101 win for the Cavs, finishing with 45 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists in 43 minutes.

Including that series against Indy, LeBron has now notched at least 20 points, five boards and five assists in 14-straight playoff games and comes into the matchup with Toronto as the 2018 Playoffs' leading scorer at 34.4 points - shooting 55 percent from the floor and 82 percent from the stripe, adding 10.0 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.4 steals per. His postseason disappointment is in a lot of ways the result of a tough time closing out series - his Caps are 3-7 in game sevens.

Whether you're a coach, player, fan or casual observer, you know what stands between the Toronto Raptors and the Easten Conference Finals.

Check out the full tv schedule for the Cavs vs Raptors second round series below.

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"They're coming off a series where they were banging and bumping for seven games", Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. The former USC star, who notched a postseason career-high 37 points in Game 2 against the Wizards, holds the Raptors franchise mark for 30-point games in the playoffs with 14. The three-time NBA Finals MVP averaged the highest rebound and assist numbers per 36 minutes of his career, along with his joint-third highest scoring total per game.

The Raptors also dropped two of three to the Cavaliers during the regular season, capped by a pair of SU and against the spread losses in Cleveland over the final three weeks of the campaign. The closest they ever got was an appearance in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals where they lost a six-game series to LeBron James. Toronto boasts too many weapons and although none may be of the howitzer variety, ala LeBron, they are lethal enough to put the Cavs to sleep.

Early betting action on Game 1 is almost 50-50 on the spread but heavily on the over 215.5-point total. Cleveland was a plus-34 on 3s during the conference semifinals a year ago.

DeRozan agreed, saying there's "no question" the Raptors are better equipped to face Cleveland than in years past.

This - guarding him with as little help as possible - would seem to make the most sense based on the available quantitative and anecdotal data. Cleveland needed seven games - and several fortuitous calls - to eliminate IN and advance to the second round against the Raptors. The Cavaliers own a 48-38 advantage in the all-time regular season series and took two of three meetings this season, including a 112-106 win at home in the last meeting April 3. LeBron will need to have a heroic performance in game 7 if he is going to lead his team to victory.

VanVleet is an essential part of that second unit and the Raptors success in general.

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