After what seemed like a year of waiting, the Cavaliers are finally back in action tonight as they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, I have the agree with the general consensus in that I don’t expect this to be much of a series. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe I will be. The Raptors barely slipped past a Heat team that was forced to play without two of their best players and big men, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh. As for the Cavs, they left their injury woes in last year’s playoffs as all members of their big three have remained healthy thus far; not a good sign for the Raptors who hope to reach their first NBA Championship in franchise history.
Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James & Co. are coming off nine days of rest with all hands on deck. As for the Raptors, they will continue to be without center Jonas Valanciunas, a vital component of their team. The Raptors were able to best the Heat in seven without JV, but going up against the Cavs is a different story. The Cavaliers are clicking on all cylinders this postseason as they have yet to lose a game. James has averaged 23.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists throughout his team’s campaign. If the Raptors want any chance to compete with the Cavs, they will need constant offensive production from both their all-stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. In addition, Bismack Biyombo will have to build off his 17 point, 16 rebound performance in Game 7 to account for Valanciunas. A lot would have to go right for the Raptors to steal game one on the road. Listed as the 10.5 point favorite, I’m taking the Cavs in tonight’s game. The Cavaliers are in form, at home, and going against an inexperienced Raptors’ team with very inconsistent stars in DeRozan and Lowry. I expect the Raptors to be able to win one game this series, but not this one.