Tue, May 1, 12:04pm by Staff Writer
The NBA Playoffs have moved to the Conference Semi Final stage as eight teams remain in the hunt to take home the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy.
Wednesday’s (AEST) action sees both of last season’s finalists in action but while the reigning Champion Golden State Warriors are cruising through the Playoffs, the same cannot be said for the team they defeated in the finals in 2017, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There is some good news for the Cavs though, next up they meet Toronto, who they have had plenty of playoff success against. Straight after that match, we head west, where the Warriors will aim to go 2-0 up in their series against New Orleans.
Cleveland Cavs at Toronto Raptors
Air Canada Centre, Wednesday 2nd May, 10am AEST
The numbers don’t lie. The Cavs are lucky to be alive in these playoffs and if it wasn’t for a superhuman effort from LeBron James against the Pacers, they would be on holidays now.
James averaged 34.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game during the series win against Indiana, in what was a herculean effort but he needs some help. No other player on the Cavs roster hit 20-points and with the Raptors All-Star backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, this could be a big issue for Tyronn Lue’s side.
Cleveland outlasted Indiana in seven games while the Raptors took six to move past the Wizards. A win against the Cavs would confirm Toronto’s standing in the league as a genuine title shot but if they are to achieve that win then they’ll need to utilise their bench players.
Sportsbet has the Cavs as outsiders at $3.25 for the win while the Raptors are warm favourites to take out the first game of the series at $1.36.
The Cavs have not lost a post season series in the Eastern Conference since 2010 and with LeBron in the starting line-up anything is possible.
Suggested Bet: Cavs to win at $3.25
New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors
Oracle Centre, Wednesday 2nd May 12.30pm AEST
New Orleans had no answers to the Warriors offence in Game One on Sunday (AEST) with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson dominating the game and the bad news for Alvin Gentry’s team is that Golden State star Steph Curry is due to suit up for his first game since early March in this one.
The All-Star duo of Durant and Thompson posted 54-points between them in Game One and with Anthony Davis struggling to get an open look as he was well guarded by Draymond Green, it was one way traffic and finished 123-101 in Oakland.
Davis has been a revelation for the Pelicans this season and the All-Star is amongst the top three players in the league and narrowly behind James Harden and LeBron James for the league’s top honour, but he needs to put his stamp on this series in what is a crucial second game.
The reigning NBA Champions have an 8-1 record over the Pelicans, which sees Sportsbet install them as $1.12 favs and the Pelicans as rank outsiders at $6.80.
Rajan Rondo has been an assist machine of late and the veteran has regularly clocked double digits in that category in the last month. Davis will be eager to make-up for his misfire in game one and with that in mind, we’re taking the visitors to keep this one close.
Suggested Bet: Pelicans to cover the line (+10.5): $1.95
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