Raptors prep for playoffs, beat "resting" Cavaliers 98-83

Toronto bested an out-of-sync Cavaliers team 98-83 in Cleveland, while Boston snatched the No. 1 seed in the East with a victory over Milwaukee.

George got his wish, and if he and the seventh-seeded Pacers can shock the Cavs, it would add another chapter to his incredible comeback story.

How Tristan Thompson fared with a brace on his sprained right thumb was the most significant subplot of the Cavaliers' regular-season finale Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. With Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and basically the same supporting cast as past year, they could turn it on and have a chance against whichever team survives the brutal Western Conference playoff. At times they have looked old and slow.

"We have good chance to win it all, but it starts with our opponent in two days", James said. "We've just got to stick together and focus on ourselves". "Those are two things we have to be better at and we got to be good at going into the playoffs". Then they won their first 10 playoff games, most in a dominating fashion.

Count Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin as one who is not exactly pleased with the way his team is performing as we look towards the playoffs. Cleveland went just 23-23 after January 10 and the Cavs have been ranked in the bottom third statistically on defense all season.

From his personal standpoint, 2016-17 was a vastly different season than 2015-16.

Coach Tyronn Lue isn't anxious, either.

Injuries, too, have played a role in Cleveland's fragmented, and some would say disappointing season, as 22 players have shuffled in and out of coach Tyronn Lue's rotations and the club was forced to go long stretches without key players like Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver.

"We have to be very aware of him", Lue said about George.

"Last year was half a season for me, but it just felt like two years".

NOTES: Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas connected on his first 3-pointer this season, with 5:18 left in the second quarter. We've got to be prepared for that. It's a story we've read time and again but this outing is unlike before. "As a team, we've done a better job playing both ends of the floor". He seemed to be overthinking his shot mechanics back when he was starting for the Raptors, but he seemed decisive in hitting a couple of open jumpers tonight. "I feel good. I'm not going backward".

"Toronto's gotten better. Boston's gotten better".

Less than three years ago, his future was in doubt after a gruesome compound fracture while playing in a USA Basketball scrimmage. In the Finals, that will be all 48 minutes, but in the earlier rounds, they should be able to coast on talent alone. "You've seen we have the capability in the regular season to be very, very good when we're all connected and dedicated to the same thing".

IN will open the postseason against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference to the Boston Celtics after the Cavs' defeat by the Toronto Raptors 98-83.

The Cavaliers will head into tomorrow morning's opener buoyed by the knowledge they have already dominated the Pacers this season, winning their mini-series 3-1 over the course of the campaign.

  • Loretta Pittman