It was the first playoff sweep for Toronto since the opening round against Washington in 2015. It is a measure of LeBron James' greatness that he scored 35 points despite wearing six-foot-six 245-pound P.J. Tucker for most of the game.
Jonathon Simmons had 17 points for the Spurs, and Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 apiece.
Then there was the issue of LeBron's energy and potential lack thereof.
"It's going to be my ninth time in 14 years". I was so happy and it was a great move by our organization to get (Tucker and Ibaka) because they stand for what we needed. Kyrie Irving also had a big-time game.
James Harden as a rookie in 2009.David Zalubowski/APThe NBA playoffs have already given us some classic games and performances from some of the league's biggest stars. So the only question left in this series is whether LeBron and the Cavaliers can close out the Raptors with a sweep. LeBron and friends are a behemoth of a team, and the Raptors are starved for realistic paths to walk en route to making up the talent disparity that so clearly separates Cleveland from the rest of the East.
Everything seems fine if you're only looking at the most basic stats.
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The kid from Akron, Ohio averaged 36 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in this series.
The problem is with Irving's shooting percentages.
The home team has won all seven times this season in their head-to-head matchups. The Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings in Toronto, 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings and the under is 21-6 in the last 27 meetings in Toronto. This is a game the Cavs should run away with assuming Lowry doesn't play. But in the most promising sign yet that we may have a competitive Finals, Cleveland tightened up against Toronto. "We can say that all day, time, everything, we didn't". After being down by 12 points at halftime, the Raptors put together enough of a comeback to go up by one midway through the fourth quarter. Korver lead the Cavs with 16 points in the quarter, 12 of which came from behind the arc. It's impossible to pinpoint a reason. Beefed-up by late-season deals for Ibaka and Tucker, Toronto expected to push Cleveland a little harder this year, but showed they still couldn't handle the Cavs. Every shooter - except maybe Sam Perkins or Chantel Osahor - will tell you that shooting begins with the legs. It's enough for a reasonable person to wonder if something is bothering him.
Listening to some fans and media, you'd think Irving can fix whatever is wrong with the proverbial "flipping the switch".
That sounds problematic to me. "Their attack in transition killed us". That he's not focused during the playoffs? James led all scorers with 10 points and Ibaka led Toronto with seven points. Now the Raptors head into an off-season of uncertainties, including questions around the future of Casey and Kyle Lowry, who plans to opt out of the a year ago of his contract and become a free agent. But James and the Cavs were too strong.