NBA Picks: Count On Cavaliers To Stay Strong In Conference Finals

Thursday, May 19, 2016 11:55 AM GMT

In Game 1, the Cavaliers unsurprisingly blew out the Raptors. Last season the Cavs made quick work of a better Atlanta team, can Toronto stand out against the NBA odds?

Cavaliers Defense and Rebounding
Pretty much everyone was suggesting the Raptors would get blown out in this series, and that was just what happened in Game 1 of this series. The Cavaliers defense and offense was too much to overcome. They held the Raptors to 42 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three-point land in a rout that wasn't even close from about the middle of the second quarter onto the end of the game.

This should come as no surprise to anyone though. The Cavs own the best Effective Field Goal Percentage of any team in the playoffs at 56.4 percent, and they are shooting three-pointers with deadly efficiency. In Game 1 they were just 35 percent from beyond the arc, but for the playoffs they are 45.5 percent, which is over five percentage points better than the Golden State Warriors.

With the injuries ad tough fought series the Raptors are getting off from, this should come as no surprise. The question is can they actually win a game in this series? The Cavaliers were only +200 to sweep the series at Pinnacle before the series started, and that looks like it might have been a bargain. If Jonas Valanciunas can come back sometime soon the Raptors do have a chance of stealing a game in Toronto, because with the way they were outrebounded in Game 1, it looks like he may be their only chance of making this a series.

The Raptors were outrebounded 45-23, which should be an absolute embarrassment. However, with the way the Cavs are shooting, there weren't too many rebounds to be had. The Cavs are not only shooting well, but also they are holding their opponents to an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 51.8 percent, which is not great, but they haven't had to be. However, Game 1 saw them hold the Raptors to an EFG% of 45.4 percent, so they are definitely trending in the right direction.

Bring Out The Brooms?
Personally, I saw this as a sweep before the series started, and Game 1 just reinforced that narrative. The Cavs are playing like the Warriors did last season in the playoffs (and on Wednesday night for that matter). There is no team with a better all around team right now in the playoffs than the Cavs, and they have a banged up and easy matchup here in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The x-factor is obviously Lebron James, but like Game 1, he is going to need help like he had in Game 1.Kyrie Irving had a phenomenal game and he and Kevin Love will need to continue to combine for another 40 or 50 points, however, the bench was one of the biggest reasons for the huge blowout. Guys like Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert and going to need to be locked in on both ends, and if they get more of that in Game 2 and beyond, the Cavs are going to be virtually unbeatable. Don't expect the Raptors to win a game unless Valanciunas can come back sometime in the Raptors home games.