Cleveland (3-2) at Toronto (2-3)
When: Friday, May 27th 2016
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: ESPN
The Cleveland Cavaliers rebounded impressively in Game 5 and will now try to put away the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 to advance to the NBA Finals. Cleveland took a 3-2 series lead with a 116-78 route of the Raptors on Wednesday and have won their three games by an average of 29.3 points. Power forward Kevin Love rediscovered his shooting stroke and scored 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting in Game 5 after averaging just 6.5 points on 5-of-23 shooting in the two games in Canada. LeBron James and point guard Kyrie Irving each scored 23 points on a night in which the Cavaliers shot 57.1% from the field. Tristan Thompson had 10 rebounds in Game 5 for his second double-digit night in the series and is averaging 9.2 in the five games. With a win tonight, the Cavaliers would reach the Finals for the second consecutive season.
Now Toronto must rebound from an embarrassing loss to force a Game 7 and keep their season alive. 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 Game 4. Lowry’s play has been terrific at home (27.5 average, 8-of-15 from 3-point range) and dreadful on the road (10.3 average, 2-of-19 on 3s). “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.” Carroll has been a major disappointment in the series, averaging just seven points and shooting 29.3% from the field, including 4-of-24 from 3-point range.
Not only has the home team won all eight meetings this season, they have covered the spread in every one of them. Toronto has too much pressure on them and I think they fold. I will predict a little bit of a trend-breaker – Cleveland wins, but the Raptors cover.
Pick: Raptors +6.5