We got back on track last night with a close winner on Golden State. The Warriors made a few late bobbles to never quite FULLY slam the door on Oklahoma City, and to be honest, I walked away from that game LESS convinced the Warriors can win the series than I went INTO the game before they won… I know it is counter-intuitive, but that win, even as it covered the spread, was FAR from convincing. If you shut the scoreboard off and just watched the game, I don’t think you walk away with the impression Golden State was the better team. And that was at home with their back firmly and frighteningly against the wall…
I am not ready to unleash tomorrow’s pick just yet, but it is worth noting that OKC is favored in a game for the first time this series tomorrow at minus-two.
Meanwhile, do the Raptors have another home court stand in them, or did Wednesday’s absolute demolition in Cleveland exorcise the demons from Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, making the series a foregone conclusion?
Let’s dive into tonight’s potential closeout game in the East for tonight’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers -7 at Toronto Raptors (Total: 197)
It is hard to have watched Wednesday’s game and not feel like this series is OVER. But then again, it was also hard to have watched the first two games in this series and imagine we’d even be TALKING about a Game Six (or five) in this series. So perhaps the Raps have one more night of frenzied home crowd magic in them.
This series reminds me a bit of the Heat v. Pacers series from 2013, where LeBron found himself in a similar situation. They were up early on an inferior opponent, they let the series linger a little too long, the had a chance to close out the series after an easy Game Five – and were roundly housed by a frenzied crowd in Game Six. Of course, the bounces back to win a Game Seven home court yawner. This feels like we could be in store for a remix. Like the Pacers, the Raptors are the inferior team, obviously, despite similar regular season records. Like the Pacers, the Raptors have some second-tier stars (Paul George similar to Lowry/DeRozan) and some scrappy role players and defenders (Biyombo=Hibbert).
However, I’d argue that while that Pacer team lacked a second backcourt All Star, they did have a better overall defense, a little better coach, and a little more veteran grit with David West and George Hill.
Alas, the Cavs are in NO trouble. If they lose tonight, they win Sunday by 30 and move on to the Finals. But I think the Raptors come out with their pants on fire tonight and the crowd frothing. This could very well be a better game than most expect. After all, Toronto thoroughly controlled the two games in Toronto in this series so far. If Kevin Love’s game once again can’t clear customs, the Raptors have a real chance to compete and even win.
Either way, I’ll take Toronto and the points and state in advance NO MATTER WHAT happens tonight (aside from catastrophic LeBron injury) the Cavaliers are my pick to win this series and murder the Raps Sunday (if necessary, obviously).