The Raptors dispatched the Bucks in six games but it was not easy and now they have an even tougher assignment against the defending champion, Cavaliers.
The Cavs swept their first round series against the Pacers, but at times they were exposed to some of their bigger problems on the defense end. I touched base on this some in my series price article on this one, but the main thing the Cavs had problems with in round one was defense.
Cleveland currently holds a defensive rating of 111 points allowed per 100 possessions, which is the worst defense of any team remaining in this postseason. Some of that could have been the team they were playing.
The Pacers aren’t a bad offensive team. Their issues were on defense as well. However, the Cavs’ should have dominated the Pacers on defense if this was last season’s playoffs. The Cavs played some great defense last year in the playoffs, which is the main reason they won the title.
If they don’t shore up their defense here in the second round, while they will likely still win the series, it won’t be easy. The Raptors have their flaws too, but they also have two All-Star guards that have the ability to give this patchwork Cavs defense a lot of trouble.
Unless the Cavs bring back their defense from last season and at times this season, this series is going to go long.
The Sharp Pick
Even though I think the Cavs’ rest is going to help them win this game and this series, with how they played and with the amount of time they have had off, they could come out flat in Game 1 at home.
That could lead to a higher scoring Game 1 if the Raptors are ready to hit the champs in the mouth. During the regular season, the Cavs took three of the four matchups against the Raptors and the final one was the only one game the Raptors won.
However, none of the Cavaliers’ big three were playing in that one and DeMar DeRozan sat out as well. So, considering all of this above, I like a teaser for this game to extract the most amount of value possible.
I love teasing down the Cavaliers’ odds here from -6½ to -1½. With all of the defensive issues the Cavs had in the first round, I doubt those disappear completely, especially in the first game of the series after all that time off. So, along with teasing down Cleveland, add the over to this teaser and your NBA Picks tonight.
Free Teaser Picks: Cavs -1½ & OVER 203½Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes