The Toronto Raptors can’t win for losing. No matter what they throw at the Cleveland Cavaliers, the defending champs are beating the basketball odds like a drum.
The Toronto Raptors did all the right things Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It didn’t matter; Cleveland (–3 away) won 115-94 to take a 3-0 lead in their second-round series. That score doesn’t do the Raptors justice, but once again, the Cavaliers hit their shots, and Toronto didn’t. Check out these stats from the 3-point line:Cleveland: 13-of-23 (56.5 percent)
Toronto: 2-of-18 (11.1 percent)
That’s your ball game right there. The Raptors missed each of their first 12 trey attempts, which is very difficult to do without shooting the ball directly behind you. Toronto was 36.3 percent from behind the arc during the regular season, but even if we give Cleveland’s defense some credit and cut that down to 30 percent for this series, the chances of Toronto missing 12 in a row might be something like... let’s see, carry the 1... around 72-1.
Oh, and Kyle Lowry didn’t play for the Raptors. He dressed, but he didn’t play – his sprained ankle from Game 2 was just too painful. So what do we do for Game 4 on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)? The Raptors are 6-point home dogs on the NBA odds board as we go to press, but who knows if Lowry’s going to be ready by then. He’s Toronto’s best player (+6.6 BPM). It’s kind of important.
Raptors Coach Dwane Casey on Kyle Lowry trying to play Game 3...: "He was limping badly. He just couldn't go..."— Matt Winer (@matt_winer) May 6, 2017
The market may have already priced in Lowry’s absence at Toronto +6, so honestly, this should still be a good spot to parlay the underdog and the UNDER, just like we did in Game 3. The same logic applies: The Cavs have enjoyed some “run good” from behind the arc, Toronto has not, and those things tend to even out. I’m not saying Cleveland hasn’t outplayed the Raptors – I’m just saying that people underestimate how much of a role luck plays in basketball.
The total’s still pretty high up there at 214.5, and we got the UNDER part of our Game 3 parlay correct, so sure, put that in our NBA picks, and throw in the Raptors at this bargain price while we’re at it. Let the Spaldings fall where they may.