New Cavalier Edy Tavares blocks six shots against the Raptors

Hazel Gray
April 21, 2017

Cleveland took Toronto down in six games in last year's Eastern Conference finals.

Jonas Valanciunas made his first career 3-pointer and the Toronto Raptors closed the regular season with a 98-83 win on Wednesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who didn't play their "Big 3" All-Stars so they're playoff ready. That's right, the #2 seeded Cavs. The Heat (40-41) remained No. 9 in the Eastern Conference, a game behind No. 7 in (41-40) and a tiebreaker behind No. 8 Chicago (40-41). "I would never say they're vulnerable". The Bulls finally figured out what they're going to do and who they're going to be.

"He brings some toughness and physicality, a little nasty, which we need at times", Lue said.

LeBron James is a confident individual and it is easy to see why. The Raptors rested DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka. If the Cavaliers were to make it to the conference championship series or even the NBA Finals and find themselves in a situation where they do not have the home court advantage, it would be a tough feat to pull off a series win against one of the NBA's elite.

At the season's midpoint, the Cavs were 30-11. The Cavs are just 1-2 against the spread in their last three games and 36-42-3 against the spread on the season. Momentum is not exactly on their side heading into the playoffs.

"We have a good chance to win it all", James said after Thursday's team practice.

The understrength Cavs led for much of the game, with Channing Frye and Deron Williams stepping up impressively with 21 and 35 points respectively. That's on me, but I'm pretty sure that a lot of guys in that locker room feel the same way. With the Cavs in win-now mode, signing a project like Tavares less than 24 hours before their final regular season game seems odd, right?

Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points to go with seven rebounds for the Raptors. Sanders, 28, appeared in 13 minutes of action over four games for the Cavs, before spending another four games with their D-League affiliate in Canton, Ohio. "Any time you have a great talent like that in a playoff series, you've got to be able to game plan". "It's a new season and anything can happen". They won three straight - Game 5 and Game 7 in Oakland - to win their first championship.

A defensive stopper with playoff experience, Jones was released at the end of training camp in October and hasn't played this season. Isaiah Thomas led the way for Boston with 27 points.

From holding out for his $57 million contract during the preseason to breaking his thumb and missing half of Cleveland's games, it's been a fairly miserable season for J.R. Smith. Wearing a brace that he'll sport in the playoffs, Thompson scored 10 points in 18 minutes.

"The most important thing is for us to give those guys a rest", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

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