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James, Cavaliers Set To Host East Leading Raptors On Saturday Night

Posted by Craig Parsons on 11/21/2014 10:35:30 PM

After all of the hype that surrounded LeBron James and his return to Cleveland over the summer it has been a somewhat quiet start for King James and the Cavaliers. The Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors each have a better record and to be completely honest have played better basketball early on. Toronto has the best record in the Eastern Conference through the first month of action and will get another true test of just how good they are when they visit Cleveland this Saturday night.

Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

A big reason for the Raptors success early on is their 7-1 record at home as they have played just three of their 11 games on the road so far. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have been one of the best backcourts in basketball and they will be tested when they lead the league’s fourth-ranked offense against the Cavaliers. Cleveland has given up a whopping 103.1 points per game and that has largely negated the fact that their 105 points per game is right behind Toronto for fifth-best in the NBA. LeBron has averaged just under 26 and 7 but in order to win consistently he needs more help at both ends of the floor. It also doesn’t help that the Cavaliers keep getting every opponent’s best shot and that will be the case again this weekend when the Raptors throw everything they have at them in order to secure a win in another important test of merit in the East.

Pick: Toronto Raptors

Miami Heat @ Orlando Magic

Saturday, 7:00 PM ET

LeBron’s old team has been very average without him as Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have kept Miami hovering around the .500 mark through the first month of NBA action. Bosh has averaged a team-leading 20.6 points per game while Wade has averaged 19.8 but there are serious concerns about how long the latter can keep up at that pace and more is needed out of Luol Deng, Mario Chalmers, and Shawne Williams. Fortunately for the Heat, Orlando has struggled with offense as well despite Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic each averaging over 18 points per game. Evan Fournier and Victor Oladipo have combined to average over 29 points per game but the Magic have gotten little scoring elsewhere and they aren’t a complete enough team to take down Miami as long as Bosh and Wade are healthy and playing at a high level.

Pick: Miami Heat

Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks

Saturday, 7:30 PM ET

Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks took down Cleveland in their opener but they have won just two of 12 games since and they have looked completely dysfunctional at times. Fortunately for Phil Jackson and company it’s still early and they are only a couple of games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East even despite their terrible start. They also get to play a Philadelphia team that is winless in 11 games this season and that will provide the perfect opportunity to get back in the win column. The Knicks have too much talent to continue to be this inconsistent but fortunately they will not have to play at an elite level to knock off the 76ers at home.

Pick: New York Knicks



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