Well, that Cavaliers-Raptors Eastern Conference Finals series suddenly just got interesting didn’t it? After getting blown out in the first two games in Cleveland, Toronto took Game 3 at home and looks to even up the series on Monday night north of the border. However, the Cavaliers are -6 in online betting.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors NBA Playoffs OddsWhen: Monday, May 23, 8:30 PM ET
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
NBA Odds: Cavaliers -6 (197)
Cavaliers at Raptors Game Background
Toronto took Game 3 99-84 on Saturday after looking totally overmatched in the first two games. DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, and Bismack Biyombo set a Toronto playoff record with 26 rebounds. It was Cleveland’s first playoff loss of the year. Kyle Lowry scored 20 points, Cory Joseph added 14, and Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll each had 10 for the Raptors.
Biyombo was the second player in over a quarter-century to collect 26 or more rebounds in a playoff game. Houston’s Dwight Howard had 26 in a first-round game vs. Dallas in 2015. Prior to that Hakeem Olajuwon was the last player to collected 26 rebounds, also for Houston at Dallas in the first round of a 1988 series. Biyombo was the first player since Moses Malone in 1977 to collect 26 rebounds during a playoff game prior to his 24th birthday. Biyombo is playing heavy minutes because usual starter Jonas Valanciunas remains out injured. He won’t play in Game 4, either. The 23-year-old sprained his ankle in Game 3 of the second round against the Miami Heat.
LeBron James scored 24 points, and J.R. Smith had 22 for the Cavaliers in the Game 3 loss. They won their first 10 playoff games and were trying to match the Los Angeles Lakers’ record of 11 straight victories to begin a postseason. The Lakers did it in 1989 and again in 2001.
The Cavs have not lost two consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams in the playoffs since 2010 (semifinals vs. Boston). With an appearance tonight, LeBron (189) will tie Magic Johnson (190) for 12th place in playoff games played. James (268 3FGM & 1,313 FTM) is also five triples away from passing Paul Pierce (272) for 6th in career postseason three-pointers and eight free throws away from passing Kobe Bryant (1,320) for 2nd all-time in playoff free throws made. In Game 3 at Toronto, James passed Jason Kidd (1,263) for 3rd place on the NBA’s all-time postseason assists list and Chauncey Billups (267) for 7th place in career playoff three-point field goals made.
LeBron has scored 20 or more points in 21 straight postseason games, which is the longest active streak in the NBA. In Game 3, James had his 8th 20-5-5 game of the 2016 playoffs (124th of career) after tallying 24 points on 9-17 (.529) shooting, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals in 39 minutes. James has also now made at least .500 of his field goal attempts in eight of 11 games this postseason.
Toronto improved to 9-1 in the postseason when holding opponents under 100 points. The Raptors have the most games holding opponents under 100 points among the final four teams in the NBA — Cleveland (9), Golden State (6) and Oklahoma City (6). Toronto was 45-5 in the regular-season when holding opponents under 100 points.
The Raptors have the chance opportunity to tie a playoff series after trailing 0-2 for the first time since 2002. The Raptors returned home in a best-of-five series vs. Detroit trailing 0-2, but won the next two games at Air Canada Centre to force a decisive Game 5 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Since 2014 the Raptors have won consecutive home playoffs games three times: 2014 vs. Brooklyn (Games 2 & 5); 2016 vs. Indiana (Game 2, 5 & 7); 2016 vs. Miami (Games 2, 5 &7).
Monday’s game marks the first time the Raptors have played on Victoria Day, a Canadian holiday observed since 1845 to celebrate the reigning sovereign’s official birthday (i.e. Queen Elizabeth’s actual birthday is February 2, 1952, but is celebrated on Victoria Day). The holiday falls on the last Monday before May 25 (Queen Victoria’s birthday) and marks the unofficial start of the summer season.
Do I think the Cavaliers win Game 3? I do. But that’s too many points to give a home team in a playoff game. So go Raptors and under in online betting.