DeRozan disappointed with Game 3 benching

Florence Fletcher
May 7, 2018

Before the start of Game 3 against the Cavaliers, Dwane Casey was asked about the ghosts of Toronto's previous playoff failures at Quicken Loans Arena, where they had lost all five road playoff games over the previous two postseasons.

Casey said his team played with "our trousers on fire defensively", but struggled to take care of the ball on offence.

"Whatever LeBron needs we'll get it done". The Cavs outscored the Raptors by 23 points in DeRozan's 28 lousy minutes, as he was benched for the final 14 minutes.At the time he came off the floor for the final time, the Raptors trailed by 16 points."It's extremely hard, extremely hard", DeRozan said. "He got to his spot. I wanted to get a chance to get a heave in". Casey got solid performances from surprise starter Fred VanVleet, who started for the struggling Serge Ibaka, and then from a rejuvenated Ibaka himself.

The difficulty of the shot was up for debate after the game.

Kevin Love had another great game. "He makes them all the time". Just a special shot. When Love wasn't doing that, he was contesting shots at the rim. Saturday's game-winner was no different. Overtime. But no one in the building was thinking that when his shot banked in, framed by the orange backboard lights of time running out. "He's hit that a million times".

The Raptors don't have an answer for James.

Talk about demoralizing, this one just adds insult to injury. I was probably doing it back then, all the way up until now at 33.

LeBron James just hit one of the most impressive game-winning shots last night against the Pacers that recent memory can process, but it turns out this has now become something not all that unfamiliar. To be honest, sometimes I don't know, but I'm confident in every shot I take because I work on every shot. "You know he's going left and he made a tough shot".

The Pacers were almost ready to celebrate after Paul George hit three free throws in OT to give the Pacers a 102-101 lead over the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but there was one problem.

16 - His buzzer-beater will be all that's remembered, but we can't forget about James' impressive fourth quarter as well. With OG Anunoby rattling the a game-tying three pointer, the Raptors relapsed into a relaxed pose thinking the game was likely headed to extra time.

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"The play-by-play sheet hardly did the highlight justice: ":00.0 L.James 10' driving back shot".

I can not wait to see it happen.

Sure enough, there are inherent issues on the defensive end with having a player that's not a rim-protector or burly interior force meant to bang with opposing centers all game in Love but the All-Star's ability to (a) play great position defense and (b) be the key to exploitable mismatches on the other end have been key to the team's ability to play a lineup that allows James to dominate, first and foremost, and the players around him too. "We understand that and we just have to come out with the right mindset and match their intensity early and try to close it out if we can". "Just play him one-on-one". He is 11-2 in opposition to Toronto prior to now three postseasons. "I'll explain it to you later".

Lue said LeBron has gone into full LeBron mode in recent games. That wasn't two points. For Toronto, this was essentially an elimination game, and the Raptors played like it. "You never want to have a (expletive) game like I had", he said.

"I told y'all in the in series, that mental clock of being a kid and telling myself "3, 2, 1" and making the noise of the net".

There's a famous picture of LeBron James, not much older than 3-years-old - if that - playing with a Little Tikes hoop on Christmas morning.

A lot of kids dream of making these jumpers. And it showed real grit in mounting one comeback after another, only to have James and the Cavs push them back.

With that. With still another preposterous LeBron James masterpiece, there is only one thing left to say.

Alex Wong is an National Basketball Association freelance writer whose work has appeared in GQ, The New Yorker, Vice Sports, and Complex, among other publications.

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