Still, the Raptors trailed Boston 20-15 after the first.
The top two teams in the conference will meet today. The Raptors were at the tail end of the most hectic stretch of their schedule – playing in the second night of a back-to-back and their 10th game in 16 days. The Cavaliers own a one-game lead over the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division while the Raptors are up two games on the Boston Celtics in the Atlantic.
Toronto played its best in the second quarter, outscoring the Celtics 29-13.
And it’s a whole lot better than the subsequent fallout that would have accompanied that result, as the Raptors were looking at losing their third consecutively to top Eastern Conference competition, and the sixth in their past nine. He missed almost half the season with his own ankle injury, and not long after he returned the Pistons lost Griffin, whom they acquired in a midseason trade with the Clippers. The 6-8, 250-pounder continually overpowered smaller players in the paint and either scored, got fouled or both en route to a nine-point quarter. The other guard, Lowry is also scoring, but is known for his ability to pass the ball. Possibly a must-win for the ninth-place Nuggets, who are a game back of No. 7 Minnesota.
In the first three games between the teams this season, the home team has prevailed. It’s why the thought of landing Isaiah Thomas in the Kyrie Irving deal made sense: trade one aggressive scorer for another, plus parts.
“Just like our body movement”, James reflected after the game on what his side did so well.
Sefolosha is recovering from right knee surgery and will begin his suspension in the next regular-season or playoff game when he is eligible and physically able to play. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are having huge seasons for Boston. That’s what Casey did after dropping the first meeting of the season in Boston, which allowed his team to win by 20 at home a few months later. Boston would love to compete the sweep of the week, so they are not going to back down.
So, when James walks into Toronto or Boston’s building for Game 1 of a series, drops a stat line of 35-12-12, and the Cavs win by 15, you might ask yourself why you doubted LeBron James again this year.
The Raptors average 48.5 points in the paint per game, which ranks sixth in the National Basketball Association.
Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler is nearing a return to action, with four critical games to go for the team in the regular season. We have seen times where team chemistry looks to be low, we’ve seen times where James looks like he is slowing down, and we’ve even seen the Cavaliers fire a coach mid-season.
Austin hosts South Bay on Thursday in the Western Conference finals, while Raptors 905 visits Erie on Friday to determine the East victor. He also dished out four assists against just one turnover, finishing with a team-high plus/minus (+27).Sometimes those individual plus/minus numbers can deceive. Those are all questions for the future. Starting with Wednesday night’s game against the Celtics.
The Warriors were 111-107 winners at Oklahoma City behind Kevin Durant’s 34 points against his ex-team.
The Raptors were down just eight entering the fourth period, but they never made a serious run – it got a little hairy late when Drew removed his starters – because James made sure of it.