It’s clear the Raptors are having a very hard time containing the Cavaliers in this series. LeBron James is taking full advantage of this and is basically running a layup line through the first two games. Mike Greenberg from ESPN said on Mike & Mike that all of LeBron’s 18 Conference Finals field goals add up to a total of 29 feet. That is, undoubtedly, a layup line. On top of that, James recorded his 15th career playoff triple-double in their 108-89 win.
In the first quarter, James came out in full point guard mode. He pumped out six assists as the Cavs jumped out to an early 30-28 lead. His scoring was seldom, but he pitched in six points after making four trips to the foul line and connecting on all of them. Both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving had superb quarters as well, finishing with nine and eight, respectively. Irving got almost whatever he wanted on offense and finished 4/8 from the field. Much like in the first game, DeMar DeRozan came out firing, and his ten points helped the Raptors stay competitive. They finished the period at 50% shooting, despite missing five shots from three.
The passing thing was getting old for LeBron, so he decided to be hyper-aggressive and start a non-stop assault on the rim. He had 11 of the Cavs’ 32 points and did so on 3/6 from the field, but was a bit shaky from the free throw line and finished 5/9. James attacked the glass as well and pulled down five boards, putting him in an excellent position for a triple-double as halftime started. Toronto’s offense began to fall apart after their promising first quarter, and they registered just 20 points on 8/22 shooting. A lot of threes were shot and simply not made. At times, Toronto swung the ball with incredible precision, but the shooters just couldn’t knock down the open looks. At the break, Toronto trailed 62-48.
Kyle Lowry picked up three fouls in less than six minutes to open the second half, thus spawning Cory Joseph. The backup guard brought solid energy off the bench, and his production followed, leading the Raptors with seven of their 21 points. After Cleveland had shot better than 50% in the first half, Toronto’s perimeter defense was noticeably improved, and the Cavs made just seven of their 17 shots. However, interior defense was still an issue, and Toronto was whistled for nine fouls in the quarter, letting the Cavaliers shoot 9/14 from the charity stripe. James was relatively quiet with two points, one rebound, and one assist and would need to wait a bit longer for his triple-double; Irving was quarter’s leading scorer with 10.
The game wrapped up with Cleveland’s bench sealing the deal and contributing 13 of their 22 fourth quarter points. LeBron captured his triple-double with three boards, and two assists in the quarter, giving him a final line of 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. Kyrie had 26 to be the game’s leading scorer, and Love rounded out the big three with 19 points.
Toronto pretty much shot themselves out of the game and made just nine of their 33 attempts from downtown. Their leading scorer was DeRozan, who had 22 on 8/18 from the field.
Game 3 is Saturday, May 21, at 8:30 PM EST in Toronto.