If by any chance you had been putting your basketball betting money on the Toronto Raptors, then you just lucked out big time. For the first time in 15 years, the Toronto has made it through to the second round of the NBA playoffs. The Indiana Pacers gave the Raptors a run for their money, taking the series all the way to game 7 at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday. Toronto squandered a 16-point lead in the last quarter but finally pulled an 89 to 84 victory, thus avoiding what could have been the third time they were eliminated early as the betting on NBA favorites.
Seeing as how the Raptors are the sole remaining Canadian team in the NBA, this is a victory not just for the city but also for the entire country – despite the fact that there are more Brazilians on the roster than actual Canadians. The win is especially meaningful because game 7 was literally slipping away and the team was seemingly going to succumb once again to the “Toronto curse.” But as forward DeMarre Carroll said, this is a different team. The Raptors were in the lead 83-67 with 7:31 left on the clock before Indiana countered with a 15-2 run to suck the life out of the arena. The Raptors only scored 11 points in the 4th quarter, the fewest by any team to win a Game 7 in the shot-clock era. On the other hand, they had fewer turnovers and more rebounds than the Pacers.
On the other side of the coin, it’s back to the proverbial drawing board for the Los Angeles Clippers. After Chris Paul’s injury it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Portland Trailblazer would make short work of a weakened Clips, which they indeed did prematurely ending the series 4-2. Though the summer may have started for the players, coach Glenn ‘Doc’ Rivers has already began mentally working on the next season, trying to sort out the comings and goings of Reggie Bullock, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley, Hedo Turkoglu, and Chris Douglas-Roberts on the one hand, and Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Cole Aldrich, Austin Rivers, and Jeff Green on the other.
The Blazers (odds +438) are facing the basketball betting favorites Golden State Warriors (-575), which already lead the series 1-0. As for Toronto (-200), they will face the Miami Heat (+170). The Raptors have wasted no time doing their homework on the Heat’s key players; Dwayne Wade, Goran Dragic, Joe Johnson, and Hassan Whiteside. Toronto will be hoping that the team effort that brought them to the second round for the first time since 2001 will carry them on to the Conference Finals.