LeBroom: James, Cavs sweep Raptors to make conference finals

10 May, 2018, 00:21 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • It was the fifth career postseason buzzer-beater for James the second of this year's playoffs

LeBron James No. 23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates with Cedi Osman No. 16 after hitting the game winning shot to beat the Toronto Raptors 105-103 in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 5, in Cleveland, Ohio.

But their fragility was underscored by a rampant Cleveland on Monday, with James leading a blowout win that ensures they will be well rested for the Eastern Conference finals, where they will play either Boston or Philadelphia.

"There was opportunity there, we just didn't seize it", guard Fred VanVleet said.

"To be the best, you've got to beat the best and we continuously have fell to the team that's made it to the finals the last three years", Lowry said. He averaged 34 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 11.3 assists against the Raptors, and overall in the postseason is averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 boards, and 9.0 assists. Backcourt partner Kyle Lowry had just five points to go with 10 assists.

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. But the most important thing that they had was a coach who was a part of the franchise that had stopped LeBron James in the 2011 finals.

"We want to continue to improve", James said after the game.

In season 15 at age 33, LeBron James is playing arguably the best basketball of his career. In other words, fans seem done with this corps that has regular season success but none in the playoffs.

"The Boston Celtics are capable of beating a Cleveland Cavaliers squad on a night that LeBron James drops 40 or 45 points", Smith said during Monday's "First Take" episode.

After a close first half, the Cavaliers stepped on the gas in the second half, pulling away and expanding their lead to 20-plus points to deflate the Raptors.

The results spoke for themselves throughout the series, with all five Cavs starters - plus reserve forward Jeff Green - averaging double-digit scoring figures against Toronto after James and Love were the only ones to do so vs. the Pacers.

Toronto aren't without their warts - their All-Star backcourt has a tendency to either go missing or revert to an archaic style in the playoffs - but this may well be a LeBron problem and not a Raptors problem. But for me, it's about, I'm going to show them how much I trust them and how much I believe in them.

Until this series, the Raptors had not lost more than two consecutive games this season.

Teams that trail 3-0 in a best-of-seven series have forced a Game 7 three times. Bounced them right out of the playoffs with a 128-93 shellacking in Game 4.

We have no idea if James can top what he's done the last 10 games, but we're certainly not ruling it out.

DeMar DeRozan, on the other hand, had softer words but they carried a very similar message. They finished 17-of-22 for 43 points. "We had a lot of challenges before the series knowing the domination they had in the regular season".

"This is probably the toughest, most frustrating, difficult, lowest feeling I've had", DeRozan said Tuesday. But if Toronto is looking for more young players perhaps they would be willing to expand the deal.


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