Even with their Game 3 win on Saturday, there hasn’t been much drama in the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors avoided a sweep, but it’s still largely seen as an inevitability that Cleveland will be back in the Finals, unless absolutely everything breaks right for Toronto.
One thing that could break right for them in a major way: Indications are that Jonas Valanciunas could be back for Monday’s Game 4, after he had been out since Game 3 of the Raptors’ second-round series against the Miami Heat with a right ankle sprain.
Before the injury, Valanciunas had been the Raptors’ best offensive player in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Getting him back is huge for their chances at pulling off the upset here, even though it’s still a longshot. At the very least, it takes the burden off Bismack Biyombo, who has been producing in a big way since the injury but is still best suited to a reserve role given his offensive limitations. And anything that keeps Dwane Casey from having to play Luis Scola at all is a positive.
It remains to be seen whether Jonas will be able to provide enough of a post presence to open things up on the perimeter for their backcourt, but they’re a lot more balanced offensively when Valanciunas is healthy and contributing.