James scores 39 as Cavaliers rout Raptors again

  • James scores 39 as Cavaliers rout Raptors again

James scores 39 as Cavaliers rout Raptors again

Toronto is a fun city to visit anytime - all the better when the Cavaliers take on the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre in games 3 and 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday and Sunday.

He looked even older as he climbed down a couple of steps from the podium after his post-game press conference.

It doesn't appear likely Toronto will catch the Cavs off guard with two convincing home wins this time around, but if Lowry and DeRozan can at least get back to playing like All-Stars, the Raptors may be able to get some momentum on their side.

"He's playing well", conceded Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.

"It sucks. To lose like we did".

"You gotta respect them, but you can't fear 'em", Casey said earlier.

Of bigger concern might be the status of guard Kyle Lowry, who sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. A reasonably competent National Basketball Association shooter will make a lot of shots when no one is within six feet of him; a team full of gunners like the Cavs will kill you dead.

Already struggling to compete with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, attempting to do it without their three-time All-Star, doesn't bare thinking about for Toronto.

"They may be the North", bellowed the peppy host on the microphone inside Quicken Loans Arena, "But we defend 'The Land'".

I know the propensity back home will be to try and figure out what the Raptors did wrong but a large measure of what transpired last night came about because of all the things the Cavs did right.

Their refusal to go quietly has been a point of pride as they have geared up for the rematch against the Cavaliers.

I'm not saying it would have made any difference because of the way the Cavaliers played but missing so many open looks in the first four or five minutes had to be hugely deflating and you just wonder, what it. Making things worse for Toronto, Cleveland was flawless from beyond the arc, making all five of their 3-point attempts, as well as 5-of-6 free throws while the Raptors were 2-of-5 from beyond the arc and didn't attempt a free throw in the quarter.

Lowry was asked about his ankle during the postgame interview and said "It's pretty sore right now, but it's whatever".

Cleveland also played focused defense, like trapping DeMar DeRozan hard and forcing him into a 2-of-11 shooting night with five points for the game.

"I have taken advantage of the opportunity I have been given", said James. With Norman Powell and Patrick Patterson inserted, Jonas Valanciunas and Demarre Carroll were moved to the bench. The hope that having more quickness, and a better ability to switch and rotate against the Cavs three-point happy attack? They made their first eight 3-pointers, building an early lead, and finished 18-of-33. If its close, hes going to get the call, so to speak. Or how can we not let them get that three? "He does a great job of taking the paint and also getting to our shooters at the same time".

This time of year he dominates all phases of every playoff game, including the psychological taunting of opposing teams who must deal with the sobering knowledge that, "They have LeBron, and we don't". He missed his first nine shots and finished 2 of 11. Fortunately for the Raptors, he didn't have to miss any games.

But as they had in Game 2, the Cavs high-octane offence was humming.