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Miles, Ibaka start for Raptors in Game 4 vs. Cavaliers

10 May, 2018, 00:20 | Author: Drew Briggs
  • Not for the first time in the NBA Playoffs James late showing secured a victory for his side

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 7: Jonas Valanciunas of the Toronto Raptors drives around LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half of Game 4 of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio.

James finished with 29 points, 11 assists and spent some of the final 7:38 dancing near the bench during Cleveland's 10th straight playoff win over Toronto, which changed its system, its roster and its approach but still can't beat the game's best player.

James is different, too, a generational talent who has represented the Eastern Conference in seven straight NBA Finals and is now one round away from reaching his eighth.

"There was opportunity there, we just didn't seize it", guard Fred VanVleet said. We couldn't get it done. The King averaged 34 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds per game in a four-game span, hitting countless fadeaways and making stellar passes over the outstretched hands of several Raptors defenders from start to finish. Trade DeMar DeRozan and/or Kyle Lowry?

There isn't much to say about James in this series.

Yeah, yeah: LeBron James beat the Raptors at the buzzer in Game 3 - but that's just because he's a dramatist like Shakespeare and the Raptors are LeBron's Globe Theater.

The skit humorously made the case that LeBron James was carrying the team, and everyone else was doing anything else but playing basketball.

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The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, became the second team in the post season to advance following their 112-102 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 5 on Tuesday in their separate semis series in the Western Conference.

"They happened to run into LeBron", he said of the Raptors. By the end, the Raptors were defeated and deflated. "I think we've done that from the seven-game series against IN to these four games". In the playoffs against Toronto LeBron was already averaging 60% shooting for his career. High-percentage gunners Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith feasted, as they did all series, going seven for eight from deep. Compared to the Toronto Raptors, whose most-used lineup in the playoffs1 logged 801 minutes together in the regular season, Cleveland looks like it's experimenting on the fly. "We had a lot of challenges before the series knowing the domination they had in the regular season".

We have no idea if James can top what he's done the last 10 games, but we're certainly not ruling it out. Born and raised just down the road in Akron, drafted to the Cavaliers with the No. 1 overall pick, left for Miami and found success only to return to the city of Cleveland and bring them a long-awaited championship. And even then, George Hill missed three games during their series with the Pacers due to back spasms.

Are the Cavs peaking at the right time?

The Cavs are also thrilled with themselves defensively, slapping fives over DeMar DeRozan's struggles in the series and due to their success in keeping anyone - outside of Jonas Valanciunas - from playing with consistency on offense.

"It just came from me being me", he said.

"I think defensively we're playing pretty good", Lue said. Lowry felt that out of his six seasons in Toronto, this was the closest they could have made the finals.

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