Eastern Conference Finals
Tip-off: Friday, 8:35 p.m. ET
Cleveland -6.5, Total: 196.5
The Cavaliers will be looking to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals with a road win in Game 6 over the Raptors on Friday.
The Raptors are one win away from elimination and they better show more effort in Game 6 than they did in Game 5.
Toronto had a chance to take a lead in the series and lost 116-78 as a 10.5-point road underdog. The team shot just 39.1% from the floor and allowed Cleveland to shoot 57.1%. The Raptors didn’t play well on either end of the court and they also were outrebounded 57-38
They’ll need to fight for their playoff lives on Friday night. One thing favoring Cleveland coming into this game is the fact that Toronto is a miserable 0-8 ATS after scoring 85 points or less over the past two seasons.
The Raptors are also just 1-10 ATS after a game with five or less offensive rebounds in that span.
They are, however, facing a Cavaliers team that is just 5-15 ATS in road games off of a home win in which the team scored 110 or more points over the past three seasons.
Both teams should be relatively healthy coming into this one, so injuries shouldn’t be a major factor in determining the outcome of this game.
The Cavaliers are coming off of a big victory and it’s clear that they will need to try to establish PF Kevin Love (17.1 PPG, 9.4 RRPG in playoffs) early in games.
Love had really struggled in Games 3 and 4, but he erupted for 25 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 shooting from the outside in Game 5. He got a ton of looks in the game’s opening quarter and Cleveland must make it a point to do that again on Friday. He is a rhythm player and can’t go too long without touching the ball without losing his confidence.
The Cavaliers are also going to need SF LeBron James (23.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 7.1 APG, 2.3 SPG in playoffs) to play like his usual self in this game. He’s been dominant over the past few games, as he is 21-for-33 from the field over the past two contests. He’ll need to continue to attack the rim in this series, as Cleveland can put away Toronto tonight and the team’s best shot of doing that is with an aggressive James.
The Raptors are coming off of a brutal performance in Cleveland, but they have won both of their games in Toronto.
They’ll be hoping to get the crowd into it with a fast start in this one on Friday. PG Kyle Lowry (18.3 PPG, 6.1 APG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs) is going to need to get it going for the Raptors in this one.
He had 35 points the last time Toronto hosted Cleveland in this series, but he had just 13 points in Game 5. He is this team’s leader and will need to set a good example early on in Game 6.
SG DeMar DeRozan (20.9 PPG in playoffs) is also going to need to step it up in this one. DeRozan was just 2-for-8 with 14 points in Game 5 and the team desperately needs him to regain his form.
He averaged 32.0 PPG in the Raptors’ two home games, so he should be able to get back on track. He is at his best working from the midrange, but it’d also be big if he can attack the rim and draw fouls on Friday.