Four passes as the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James have the Toronto Raptors down 0-2 in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
1. The Toronto Raptors inability to hurt the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason is reminiscent of how Michael Jordan‘s Chicago Bulls used to end the season early for Mark Price, Larry Nance and Brad Daugherty.
This time, LeBron James is playing the role of Jordan, and the Raptors are the Cavs. Toronto was an excellent regular season team and has several nice pieces in place around Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
But when James has games like he did in Game 2, lights out. James had 43 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds. He had 15 in the third quarter. It didn’t matter if the Raptors were covering him. James would fadeaway off one leg and make the basket anyway.
James practiced those fadeaway shots during the morning shootarounds, knowing the Raptors would give him those looks, according to Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto. Point. LeBron.
James was 17-of-26 on contested shots, which counts as the most contested makes of any player this postseason, according to ESPN.
Practice makes perfect.
Yeah, Toronto was renamed last night. It’s called LeBronto now.
Toronto was favored at the onset of this series, but now are 10-2 against in the postseason against the Cavs over the past three seasons, and have lost eight straight.
2. The challenge and Kevin Love, and Ty Lue too: Do it again. The Cavs’ coach said nothing had changed in his player’s mindset, but Love was obviously more comfortable the floor.
Perhaps its because the Cavs’ coach actually dialed up some plays for him, instead of relegating him to stand and wait for the ball on the 3-point line.
Lue made it a point to get Love the ball on the block, and he was effective.
More importantly, Love was active. He was cutting to the basket and coming off of picks. When he got the ball in the paint, he was determined.
James kept feeding Love, even though the UCLA product missed several early looks. James’ faith was rewarded as Love had 18 points at halftime.
3. If you thought Toronto was panicking after Game 1, the Raptors media are warning the public of the Raptors demise by ramping up the Panic Meter to DEFCON-1.
Kyle Lowry disappeared after halftime, scoring just three points in the final two quarters. Defenses attacked DeRozan, who’s 24 points came off 23 shots. Too inefficient.
The Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur wrote:
"“So with the season on the brink, who was left to save them? Jonas Valanciunas was getting run off the floor again, Serge Ibaka was a clattering boneyard — ‘Serge hasn’t been himself,’ said Casey — and even OG Anunoby, who might not blink alone in a room with a tiger, looked shook. All that led to Kevin Love killing Toronto again — 31 points — and demolition.”"
It’s hard to blame Toronto fans for fearing the worst because the Raptors have never overcome a 0-2 postseason deficit and are 9-1 at The Q over the past three seasons.
In years past, Toronto could always cling to the series coming home after defeats in Cleveland, but with the Raptors
4. Three turnovers compared to 25 assists for the Wine & Gold. Combined, Cleveland’s turned the ball over nine times in Games 1 and 2 after giving the rock away on an average of 14 times per game against the Pacers.
Speaking of turnovers, George Hill may not be 100 percent but the Cavs are 3-0 since he returned from injury. He’s given up the ball just once.