Monday’s Sports BIT Show: Cavs-Raptors, Rockets-Spurs & NFL Draft Recap

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Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers
It’s rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals in this series as Cleveland eliminated Toronto in six games last year. The Cavs’ four wins were all by at least 19 points. These teams finished with the same 51-31 regular-season record in 2016-17 but the Cavs are the second seeds and the Raptors No. 3 because Cleveland won the season series 3-1. However, all those Cleveland wins came before the Raptors acquired Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker around the trade deadline. They were brought in partly because of their defensive prowess and the potential to help slow down LeBron James. What’s the key to holding LeBron in check? “Three-point shooting after his penetration, his post-ups, his isos. It’s three-point shooting and rebounding as the third thing. They’re kind of all clumped together because one creates the other and it’s a chain reaction. We have to make sure the progression is there of how we stop each phase of it,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. Toronto’s lone win in the regular-season series was on April 12 when the Cavs rested LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Toronto is an amazingly bad 1-11 in its past 12 playoff openers and a 6.5-point dog here.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
The spectacular individual matchup in this series that likely determines the winner is between MVP candidates James Harden of Houston and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Leonard might not be on Harden all game but likely will be at crunch time. Houston probably has no shot in this series if Harden’s supporting case doesn’t step up. Very different paces here as Houston ranked second in the NBA during the season in offensive efficiency at 111.8 points per 100 possessions, while San Antonio was No. 1 in defensive efficiency at 100.9 points allowed per 100 possessions. The Spurs could be upset if the series is LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t find his game. He averaged just 14.8 points in 45.3 percent shooting in the first round against Memphis. The Spurs are -5.5 for Game 1.

NFL Draft Recap
Who were the winners and losers of the 2017 NFL Draft? Not ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. that’s for sure. Kiper got just four first-round picks correct on his final mock draft. He had more wrong selections of guys at the same position than right selections overall. His ESPN counterpart, Todd McShay, got only three right. They each nailed Myles Garrett No. 1 to Cleveland, Leonard Fournette No. 4 to Jacksonville and Christian McCaffrey No. 8 to Carolina. The lone team to see significant movement on its Super Bowl odds at BookMaker was Houston after it traded up to select Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in Round 1. The Texans’ odds moved from +2850 on Thursday morning to +2210 following the draft.

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