Cavs, Celts go up 2-0

Jeannie Matthews
May 5, 2018

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on in the second half of Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on May 1, 2018 in Toronto.

The Cavaliers blew the game wide open in the third quarter when they outscored the home team 37-24. More than that, however, he's turned into a player that actually changes what the opposition has to do many times.

That made it 8-0 in playoffs record for Cleveland over Toronto, dating from 2016's 4-2 Cleveland win and 2017's Cleveland 4-0 sweep. James got it started against Kyle Lowry and then took Pascal Siakam, DeMar DeRozan and OG Anunoby to school with a series of Michael Jordan-esque fadeaways in the post. He was steadfast in picking the Raps to advance past the Cavaliers, and, like many Toronto fans, thought that this year's team was different than in years past. DeRozan scored 13 points on 14 shots, and Lowry managed just three points on three shots.

"That's kind of what won the game for us", Lue said of Cleveland's big third quarter. Ben Simmons was a non-factor on offense, scoring just one point and missing his four field-goal attempts. But the mighty Cavs came in boasting an even better stat: 18-1 all-time in playoff Game 2s after winning series openers.

Love's shooting ability provides spacing at the center position, and theoretically forces opposing centers to follow him out to the perimeter where Love has the advantage.

"I pretty much know the scouting report on me is going to be to dare me to shoot jump shots and keep me out of the paint, not allow me to go to the free throw line", James said in the Game 2 post-game press conference. "Yeah, we had a hangover from the other night, but again, this is the National Basketball Association semifinals, and we can't come out in the third quarter and give up an 18-5 run, no matter what happens, no matter what they're doing offensively, we've gotta keep fighting, keep our heads up, stay together". Figure out how we can help and make things tougher on K-Love when he's down there posting up.

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"We thrive off adversity, every single guy on this team, we thrive off adversity". The Cavs have now won eight consecutive playoff games against the Raptors.

The Toronto Raptors are feeling a sense of deja vu as they trail the Cleveland Cavaliers 2-0 in their second-round playoff series. That's where we're at now and it's the first team to win four.

Where do we go from here?

Casey echoed the hope of his players.

"It's definitely been a challenging year", Love said after Thursday's morning shootaround.

So, you get him to turn his back 15 feet or more away from the basket, stick tight as he turns and fires in one motion from various points on floor, and hope for the best. "I don't know what the history of down 0-2 is but one thing I do know is tonight wasn't us, how we normally play for longer periods of time". Will they be able to find answers?

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