The Cleveland Cavaliers begin what they expect will be a romp into their second straight NBA Finals Tuesday, but the upset-minded Toronto Raptors stand in their way as Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will stream live on Tuesday, with the Raptors now having made it deeper into the playoffs than any time in their 21-season franchise history.
In fact, before Toronto edged the Indiana Pacers in seven games in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, the NBA’s lone Canadian team had not won a playoff series since 2001, getting bounced out in the first round four times since then.
The Raptors have played back-to-back seven game series heading into the Conference Finals, while Lebron James and his Cavaliers have played only nine games in total so far this postseason. Cleveland swept the Detroit Pistons in the first round, then cruised past the Atlanta Hawks in five games in the Eastern semifinals.
The series pits the Eastern Conference second-seeded Raptors against the top seed in Cleveland. But Toronto Head Coach Dwane Casey sees the lack of rest as a significant disadvantage for his squad.
“You always take rest over rust in the playoffs,” Casey said on Monday. “I’ve never been with a team that’s had nine days off. Hopefully they’re a little rusty and game-rusty. But sooner or later, that rest is going to kick in and be a plus for them.”
For an in-depth preview of the Cavaliers-Raptors series, watch the following video from a panel of experts and former players on NBA TV.
For a different take on the Toronto vs. Cleveland showdown, watch the following video preview from USA Today.
To watch a live stream of the Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, see the streaming links in the final paragraph of this article. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 17 — 5:30 p.m. Pacific.
While the Cavaliers are heavily favored over the Raptors in the series — a win that would give Lebron James a fourth opportunity, and second in a row, to bring his hometown team the first NBA Championship in the 46-season history of the team — Toronto can take some encouragement from having defeated Cleveland in two of their three regular season meetings.
— HoopsHabit (@HoopsHabit) May 17, 2016
When the two teams last faced each other on February 26 in Toronto, a 43-point outburst from Kyle Lowry led the Raptors to a narrow, 99-97 victory.
But the Cavaliers were saving their best for last, apparently, flipping the “on” switch once the playoffs began. Cleveland threw in a record 77 three-pointers in their five-game disposal of Atlanta, scoring 111.3 points per game.
In their grinding, seven game conference semifinal win over the Miami Heat, Toronto managed just 97.1 points per game, and had the benefit of three overtime periods — 15 extra minutes — to inflate their scoring totals.
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To watch the Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 stream live from Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday, use the stream provided by WatchESPN at this link, or download the WatchESPN app to watch the game on mobile devices. Fans who do not have credentials to log in to WatchESPN can watch the game via the Sling TV internet TV package at this link. The package, which includes a variety of channels, including ESPN, costs $20 per month. But Sling TV offers a seven-day free trial, so subscribers can choose whether or not to keep the service after watching the Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 stream live online.
[Featured Photo By Jason Miller / Getty Images]