Cavaliers v Raptors: Conference Finals Game 1; WatchESPN, ESPN

LeBron James of Cleveland Cavaliers

SPORTING ALERT – The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors will meet in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night (17).

Game 1 tip-off time is at 8:30 pm ET, with live national coverage on ESPN and streaming live on WatchESPN and the WatchESPN App. Fox Sports Ohio will also broadcast the game live for local viewers.

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CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

LeBron James and the Cavaliers easily brushed aside the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks in the first two rounds without dropping a single game.

The Eastern Conference No. 1 seed has also been resting, having wrapped up its series with the Hawks nine days ago, and the team is ready to get back to work.

A well motivated James heads into Tuesday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals averaging 23 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game across eight games in the playoffs this season, while shooting 49.7 percent from the field.

His supporting Cast, which include the likes of Kevin Love, who looks to be heading back to his best, Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavedova, Channing Frye and Tristan Thompson.

TORONTO RAPTORS

Unlike the Cavs, Toronto had to go all the way in every series to earn a spot into its first ever Eastern Conference finals.

The Raptors secured hard-fought 4-3 wins over both the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat, respectively, and did this by following the same path, after losing Game 1 in both those series and then winning the next two.

Star guard DeMar DeRozan, despite being somewhat inconsistent in the playoffs this campaign, is averaging 20 points per game, while fellow backcourt partner, Kyle Lowry is averaging 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game in 14 playoff contests so far this season.

The Raptors are expected to be without star center Jonas Valanciunas, at least for Game 1, as he’s been officially ruled out with an ankle injury he suffered during the series with Miami.

RESTED BY NO ADVANTAGE

Meanwhile, despite getting a lengthy break to rest up, take care of a few niggles and prepare for the Raptors, James dismissed suggestions that the Cavaliers head into the series with an advantage.

“It’s not an advantage,” the four-time MVP said after a practice session Monday. “They’re here for a reason. You got to go out and play.”

In fact, the star forward says he wouldn’t be surprised if Toronto’s 14 games played in the postseason this term made them the sharper team.

“They also played two seven-game series and we didn’t. So they can have the upper edge on that,” James noted.

“So, there’s no advantage to either team. Both teams are 0-0 and it’s the first to four.”

In the meantime, the Cavaliers have been shooting lights out from 3-point range in the postseason and Raptors coach Dwane Casey believes his team must pay limit to their outside shooting from early

“That’s going to be the issue,” said Casey. “They’re such a great transition team, such a great penetrate, pick-and-roll team that you try to stop everything and you don’t stop anything.

“We have to pick our poison. They’re very lethal.”

About Brittney Berreth | Staff Writer

Brittney Berreth – A member on board who brings a lot of energy and fun within the work environment. Covers basketball, soccer, but has good eyes and energy for sports.

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