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NBA Eastern Conference finals: How the Cavaliers and Raptors match up

NBA Eastern Conference finals: How the Cavaliers and Raptors match up

Forward LeBron James (23) leads the Cavaliers into an Eastern Conference finals matchup against the Toronto Raptors.

(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

1. CLEVELAND

First round defeated Detroit, 4-0.

Second round defeated Atlanta, 4-0.

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2. TORONTO

First round defeated Indiana, 4-3.

Second round defeated Miami, 4-3.

Season series: Raptors, 2-1.

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Key stats: The Cavaliers are the best-shooting three-point team in the playoffs, making 46.2%, the second-highest scoring team, averaging 107.8 points per game, and Kevin Love was third in rebounding, 12.5. The Raptors averaged the sixth-lowest number of points in the postseason (94.7), were tied for third in most points allowed (94.1) and shot the fifth-lowest percentage (41.3%).

Outlook: This series features Cleveland’s impressive big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Love versus Toronto’s preserving All-Star backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. There’s also the fun matchup between point guards Irving and Lowry.

James (23.5 points per game) is second in playoff scoring for the Cavaliers behind Irving (24.5), and Love is third (18.9). DeRozan has shot just 35.5% from the field and 18.2% from three-point range in the playoffs and Lowry just 36.6% and 28.3% from three-point range, but the two combined for 63 of the Raptors’ 116 points in their Game 7 clincher against Miami.

Toronto will be without center Jonas Valanciunas (sprained ankle) for at least the first two games. J.R. Smith’s defense and three-point shooting will be a key for the Cavaliers, as will DeMarre Carroll’s defense on James for the Raptors.

Prediction: The Cavaliers will have had eight days off since they last played and may be rusty early on, but they’ll win this in five.


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