The NBA Eastern Conference finals between Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors has reached an interesting phase, with both teams tied at 2-2. With the fifth game set to be played at the Q Arena on Wednesday, Cavaliers will be keen to use home advantage and take crucial lead in the best-of-seven-series, and inch closer to the NBA final.
Easier said than done for Cavs. The Raptors have looked in sizzling form, defeating Cavaliers in their last two matches. After trailing 0-2, Raptors had to deliver, and how well did they outshine the Cavs, who lost 84-99 and 99-105 in their last two matches.
Besides Raptors' offence, their defence has also been superb, restricting Lebron James and co. under the three figure mark. It is due to such phenomenal performances from the Raptors, which had matters much more interesting.
James played 46 minutes in Game 4, as it was their plan to give Cavs number 23 more time.
''We talked about it before the game and the night before how his body felt and wanting to play more minutes because we knew it was a big game for us, but it didn't work out,'' AP quoted Cavs coach Tyronn Lue as saying.
With such an important game on Wednesday, it remains to be seen what Lue's plan will be regarding James and his minutes of play.
But other stars like Kevin Love also need to step up their game against the Raptors if James is not able to spend much time on the court. Love has been below par from beyond the arc, which is becoming a huge problem. Cavs resemble a dominant unit when Love gets his shooting right as well.
However, Lue is not perturbed by it, and hopes that team performs better overall.
''He's just missed shots. That's part of the game,'' Lue said.
''He's been playing great all playoffs and at some point you're going to miss some shots, but that's not our main concern, we gotta be better defensively and we're going to make shots.''
The Raptors have primarily found success of late due to some stunning display by Kyle Lowry, who looked below par in the first two games of the series, but took his game to A-class level, in the next two , where he scored 20 and 35 points. Besides Lowry, DeMar Rozan has been in quality form in the series, another brilliant display against Cavaliers will see them closer to the title-decider.
There is a serious need for Raptors to lift their away performances, as they lost the first two matches at the Q Arena quite easily, but they have got momentum in their side with back-to-back victories over Cavaliers.
Can Raptors defeat Cavaliers third time in succession?
Where to watch live
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors NBA playoff conference final is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET (6 a.m. IST, 1:30 a.m. BST) start. Indian viewers can watch it live on Sony Six/HD, with live streaming onSonyliv.
Viewers in the US can watch the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors playoff conference final live on ESPN,with live streaming on Watch ESPN
BT Sport will provide live coverage of the NBA playoffs game in the UK, while the game can also be live streamed on Watch BT Sport.
NBA fans can also watch the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors live onNBA.com.