There isn’t much to say about James in this series.
Every angle of LeBron James’ iconic game-winner against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night, May 5, has been covered in the last 36-plus hours.
James had a total of 136 points for the series, nearly topping the Raptors’ two star players in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, who had 138 points combined.
“We pretty much shredded nearly every bench in the National Basketball Association throughout the regular season”, VanVleet said. This year’s Raptors team was the most successful in franchise history. Toronto has also fallen straight up in 10 of its past 11 visits to Quicken Loans Arena, but halted a four-game against-the-spread slide in Cleveland by covering as a 4.5-point road underdog in Game 3.
James has been reluctant to discuss the Cavs’ chances to win a title or get back to the Finals for the fourth straight year, but his confidence has grown with each victory.
The Rockets and the Warriors are each leading 3-1 going into the games and would face each other in the next round should they prevail in their best-of-seven series.
Even winning it all is suddenly on the table. He started the series exhausted coming off a seven-game series against the Pacers. It was one of those kinds of nights.
The second way the Cavs flipped the script is simply through the number of double-figure scorers they had.
DeRozan, meanwhile, was at a loss to explain yet another loss to the Cavs.
“Sidney Crosby in hockey, if you think he’s better than Wayne Gretzky, you’re entitled to that opinion”.
Their reward? The most precious reward of all this time of year – rest.
The Cavs not only swept the Raptors to beat Toronto for the 10th-consecutive time in the postseason, 2 but they did it in dominating fashion.
The quick dismissal earned the Cavs a minimum of five days’ rest, which could stretch to eight depending on how the Boston-Philadelphia series plays out.
There is growing concern that while Casey can get solid play from his team during the regular season, he fails to elevate their game when it comes playoff time, thus explaining why Toronto hasn’t made a Finals push in recent seasons. It’s taken longer than expected.
Leonard, on the other hand, is much bigger and athletic enough to go at LeBron one-on-one. “We’ve just got to do a little bit more, make a couple more plays and I think we’ll be in good shape”. While they were clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference this season, Cleveland were a weaker side than in years past. Guys made threes. A lot of different guys stepped up.
Lue himself couldn’t have scripted a better first two series to prepare his team for Boston (probably). In 84 playoff minutes, the quintet is averaging 118.8 points per 100 possessions, is scoring 112.9 points per 48 minutes, and has a net rating of +9.3. After a record-setting regular season that landed them the top seed in the East, it seemed like the Raptors were capable of going beyond that.
Traditionally, coaches and teams find what works and a comfort level during the regular season, then build on those lineups – and use them to exploit specific matchups – in the playoffs. Pat Riley would drive to San Antonio in August with no air conditioning and the windows stuck in the up position if that’s what it took to get that deal done.