With a win tonight, the Cavs will sweep the Raptors and move on to face the winner of the Celtics and 76ers. Betting against LeBron James in a closeout game seems unwise.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors, Game 4
When: 8:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena — Cleveland, Ohio
Enemy Blog: Raptors HQ
Cavs injuries: None
Raptors injuries: None
Three keys to the game
- A win for Cleveland here would be massive. Regardless of when the Celtics’ series against the 76ers wraps up, a win in Game 4 would get the Cavs several days off before the Eastern Conference Finals start. For LeBron James, who was spoken about being annoyed by the lack of multiple days off between games in this series, rest can only be a good thing. They may not need him completely rested to beat Boston, but the fresher he is, the better the Cavs are. Kevin Love and George Hill — not to mention J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver — would probably benefit from a few days off too.
- Toronto’s season is on the line here, so Cleveland has to assume it’s going to get the Raptors’ best shot here. In Game 3, the Cavs won — thanks, LeBron — despite blowing a few big leads and giving up a three-pointer just before James hit his game-winner. There’s no guarantee that the Raptors do that again, but the Cavs have to expect it. Also: Is DeMar DeRozan going to ride the bench for a long stretch again?
- Two small notes: Will the Cavs actually adjust their rotation? And, if so, what does that look like? And will the Raptors change their defensive strategy vs. LeBron James and Kevin Love? Switching has killed them in both cases, so maybe they’ll adjust for Game 4 in hopes of extending their season at least one more game.
If Toronto is going to win, they’ll need big nights from both DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Once again, that means Cleveland needs good defensive nights from George Hill and J.R. Smith. If both Cavalier guards can play at the level they have so far in this series and stay out of foul trouble, the Cavs will have a good shot of completing their sweep.
Fear the Sword’s Fearlesss Prediction
Get out the brooms — Cavs 104, Raptors 98.