Wed, May 3, 5:09pm by Staff Writer
Round Two of the playoffs gets is underway with the Spurs hosting the Rockets in the West and the Cavs taking on the Raptors in the East. The Rockets led by James Harden will fancy their chances of pulling of an upset against their Texas neighbours while the reigning Champions are looking to continue their perfect playoff run.
Raptors @ Cavaliers
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland – 9am, Thursday 4 May
The Raptors face Cleveland for the second time in three days, hoping to level the series at 1-1 against a Cavs line-up that are fresh and will be buoyed by the home town support.
The Cavs have had the wood on the Raptors during the regular season, with the only joy that the Raptors had during the regular season coming in April, when both LeBron and Irving rested.
and the opening game of the series was no different. In that game on Tuesday (AEST), it was the case of the usual suspects as Kyrie Irving and LeBron James did what they do best in the 116-105 win, the reigning Champs were fresh off an eight-day break after they swept the Pacers in the first round.
For the visitors, Serge Ibaka was solid with 15-points and six assists and while DeMar Rozen ended up with 19-points and seven rebounds, most experts would say that JR Smith did a good job defending the latter.
Speaking of those two stars, LeBron had 35-points and ten rebounds in the series opener, while Irving backed him up with 24-points and ten assists. The Cavs have greater depth across the board when it comes to their bench rotation and I’m taking them to win and cover the 7.5 point line here.
AT&T Centre, San Antonio – 11:30am, Thursday 4 May
Experts gave the Rockets little chance of toppling the Spurs in this series, but after stunning their Texas neighbours 126-99 in game one, they’ll be full of confidence here.
James Harden has been a major reason for the Rockets form in the post-season, averaging 33 points, seven assists and 6.5 rebounds.
The Spurs have their own MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard – who had 21 points and 11 rebounds in game one – while Veteran Manu Ginobili and Aussie Patty Mills also need to deliver if they are to progress.
Mills has been outstanding for the Spurs in the post season to date averaging 10.7 (PPG), while Ginobili has turned back the clock with some key contributions in the first round against the Grizzlies.
The Rockets will be buoyed by their win in game one, when they shot 22 of 50 from 3-point range. I’m taking them to continue their hot streak from beyond the arc and leave San Antonio with a 2-0 series lead.
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