Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Betting Prediction

Posted by Aaron . on April 26, 2017 in

Of the eight playoff teams in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers were the first to make it to the second round, sweeping the Indiana Pacers, 4-0, in the conference quarterfinals. They await the winners of the series between the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite the fact that they swept the series, though, the Cavaliers face some tough questions going into the next round of the postseason. Take a look at our NBA Playoff betting prediction as to whether they will make it to the conference finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Betting Prediction

Scouting the Opposition

The Milwaukee Bucks have shown the rest of the Eastern Conference that they are serious contenders with their play this year — and with their Game 3 rout of the Toronto Raptors. However, the Raptors upped their game another level in Games 4 and 5, winning both contests in convincing fashion. The thunderous dunks that Norm Powell and Serge Ibaka threw down in Game 4 showed that the Bucks still have some work to do on defense. Toronto leads that series 3-2 and should advance to the conference semifinals on Thursday night.

What does Toronto bring? Two All-Star scorers in the backcourt, in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. They bring some heavy hitters inside, with Ibaka and Powell — as well as center Jonas Valanciunas. The Cavaliers don’t really have much of an answer inside and would need to win this series from the backcourt or through penetration. Toronto brings an ironclad defense that will question the Cavaliers’ resolve. It’s hard to beat LeBron James, but history has shown that when James feels like the contest is over and he didn’t win, he will just stop.

Why Cleveland Should Advance

Except for the first half of Game 3, Cleveland pretty much scored at will against the Pacers. It helped that in addition to stellar play from James and Kyrie Irving, other cast members hit big shot after big shot, such as Deron Williams, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver and Channing Frye. When the defense focused on James, that left the whole rest of the offense open, an approach that Toronto won’t be able to use.

By the time the Cavaliers play again, they will have had at least a week off. Given the grind that they face with their deep postseason runs each year, this is a team that will benefit from the extra rest.

Why Cleveland Might Have Trouble

Cleveland hasn’t played consistent defense since the All-Star break, and they only played two solid defensive quarters against Indiana, the third and fourth periods of Game 3, when they had to come back from a 25-point halftime deficit.

Kevin Love had solid performances in Game 1 and 2, but he was the weak link offensively in Games 3 and 4 Will the long layoff help him? Or will it add to his shooting woes?