NBA Playoffs: Cleveland Cavaliers march towards Finals
Robbie Purves | May 20, 2016
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors
- NBA Conference Finals
- Sunday, May 22nd
- Tipoff: 01:30 BST
- Air Canada Centre, Toronto
LeBron triple double heroics
Cleveland Cavaliers opened up a 2-0 series lead in game two with a 108-89 win at the Q Arena. The pressure is now firmly with Toronto Raptors as they look to continue their historic playoff run.
LeBron James recorded his 15th career postseason triple-double, on the same night he moved past Shaquille O’Neal into fourth place on the all-time postseason scoring list.
James registered 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a performance that drove his side to victory. Kyrie Irving also chipped in with an impressive 26 points to help Cavaliers remain the only unbeaten team this postseason.
Meanwhile, Raptors All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, failed to show up yet again with a meagre 32 points between them. The two have an unfortunate knack of sinking into their shells at crunch time.
The primary difference between the East’s final two is scoring, proving why Kevin Love, who many thought was on Cavs’ trading block last winter, is so important.
Cleveland’s big three; Love, James and Irving, combined to score 62 points in the first three quarters, only seven fewer than Toronto’s entire team. Cavaliers possess firepower than only Golden State Warriors can match. Not only do Cavs have their three superstars, but are also blessed with sharpshooting J.R. Smith who is making threes at a superb 40 per cent.
The teams have averaged 198 points a game during this series and Coral have them 12/5 to register a total between 192-202.
Cleveland have had their eyes on the Warriors since the season began, and will look to finish this series by winning the next two on Canadian soil.
Golden State Warriors @ Oklahoma City Thunder
- NBA Conference Finals
- Monday, May 23rd
- Tipoff: 01:00 BST
- Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
Thunder head to home-court
After a stunning game one win in Oakland, Oklahoma City Thunder surrendered their advantage with a 91-118 defeat to Golden State Warriors.
Steph Curry and his title chasing Warriors swept aside Thunder, in a series levelling win in which the guard showed flashes of his MVP brilliance.
The 28-year-old scored 15 straight points in less than two minutes during a dazzling third-quarter stretch – leading his team past Oklahoma and finished the game with 28.
On Curry’s performance, coach Steve Kerr said: “Business as usual. This is what he does.”
Thunder’s rock solid interior defence lead by Steven Adams fell apart and lost the rebound battle. Golden State registered 45 rebounds while Oklahoma managed just 36. This allowed Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Australian Andrew Bogut to recycle possessions, leading to baskets.
However, Billy Donovan’s team will not leave California too downbeat. The crucial takeaway from the opening two matches was the away win, a crucial triumph that now sees them head home with home-court advantage.
Another positive is the form of Kevin Durant who is notching an average of 27.4 points, but is rumoured to be leaving this summer in free agency.
Both teams are packed full of points and have averaged 209.5 this series – and are 6/5 to tot a total of under 218.