Cleveland Cavaliers 128
Toronto Raptors 110
Cavs lead series, 2-0
Take Care, Toronto, you may not be able to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers in person until next fall. The Raptors spent the entire 82-game regular season to not only earn the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but earn home-court advantage as well. In just 48 hours, LeBron James and the Cavs proved that home-court advantage doesn’t matter,1 and will return to Cleveland with 2-0 series lead and now just have to win two games in Quicken Loans Arena to sweep the top-seeded Raptors—again.
James has always said that he’s from Akron, Ohio, but in the Eastern Conference playoffs, his residence mine as well be considered inside the heads of each and every Raptor, at least every April.
The Cavs seemingly got their groove back offensively in Game 2 Thursday night, especially Kevin Love. They are playing their best basketball at just the right time, it seems.
43/9/14/1 – Just when you thought LeBron couldn’t give you any more WOW moments, he goes out and does something like he did Thursday night north of the border. His fadeaways, his spin moves, his layups, his dunks…he was unstoppable. Less than 48 hours after saying that he had one of the worst games of the season even though he notched a triple-double in Game 1, No. 23 dominated in Game 2, to say the least. He not only was 19-of-28 from the field, but the King totaled 43 points, eight rebounds, 14 assists, and one steal in 41 minutes while leading the Cavs to a 2-o series lead.
If the box score didn’t already prove it, No. 23 was unstoppable in Game 2. He basically did whatever he wanted offensively, while being super efficient as well.
31/11/2 – Welcome back, Kevin! Just a few hours after I wrote about Kevin Love struggling throughout the postseason, he goes out and totally redeems himself. The Cavs got him involved in the offense early and often, which turned into only good things for the wine and gold. Love notched 31 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block while knocking down 11-of-21 shots from the field and all seven of his free throws.
During the first eight games of the postseason, Love not only didn’t score as much as we’re used to, but he was super inefficient as well. As Cleveland’s second option offensively, they needed him to step up. He did just that in Game 2. Hopefully he can build on this and continue the momentum into not only the rest of the series, but the rest of the playoffs as well.
19-of-28, 11-of-21 – I’ve already talked about it, but James and Love not only dominated offensively, but they were super efficient as well. Combining to make 30-of-49 (65 percent) of their shots, the Cavs’ top-two scoring options were virtually unstoppable while helping the Cavs score 128 points Thursday night. If the duo continue to not only score but be efficient as well, the wine and gold will be hard to stop, no matter who their opponent is.
15, 14, and 13 – LeBron and Kevin did their thing, combining for 74 points, but one of the most important things in the scoring column was also that they had plenty of help as well. JR Smith (15 points), Jeff Green (14 points off the bench), and George Hill (13 points) all scored in double figures as well.
61 percent – Shooting 61 percent in any game is impressive, doing so on the road in the postseason is incredible, to say the least. The Cavs made 50-of-84 shots in Game 2 and also were a solid 42 percent from beyond the arc as well. That comes one game after they shot 40 percent from three-point range in the first game of the series.
5 – Kyle Korver has been a key part of the Cavs’ offense so far in the playoffs. The wine and gold had their best game of the postseason offensively in Game 2 even though Korver only had five points, while hitting 2-of-3 shots from the field in 28 minutes. Imagine how scary this offense could be if Love is (finally) back and Korver continues to be efficient (and gets more shots).
3 – When Cleveland only turned the ball over five times in Game 1, no one thought they would be able to do that again. They thought wrong. The wine and gold had just three (3!) turnovers Thursday night. With how efficient they were offensively along with turning the ball over just three times, the Cavs were all but unstoppable offensively.
16-2 – Between the 2:31 mark of the second quarter and the 10:00 mark of the third quarter, the Cavaliers went on a 16-2 run and turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 72-65 lead. That run got the offense going for good and they never looked back.
4-of-8 – Sorry, not everything can be positive here, you guys. No. 23 has been dominant offensively, but if he starts making his free throws again, he will score even more points. After making 39-of-44 free throws (89 percent) in the final four games of the Pacers series, he has made just 5-of-14 (36 percent) in the first two games in Toronto. It may be just a fluke, but if James can find his groove (again) on the free-throw line, he will become even more unstoppable offensively than he already seems to be.
5 – Expected to be two major parts of the deadline deals, Jordan Clarkson (2-of-5) and Rodney Hood (0-for-2) continued to struggle. They combined for just five points in Game 2. It (luckily) hasn’t been a big deal so far, but one (or preferably both) will have to get in some sort of groove offensively going forward, especially as the Cavs go deeper into the postseason.
13-of-13 – Outside of James, the starters were a perfect 13-of-13 from the free-throw line, with Love (7-of-7) leading the way. It may not seem significant now, but with the Cavs holding a 2-0 series lead and returning home for Games 3 and 4, the Raptors will most likely be much more physical, especially if Cleveland takes an early lead Saturday night. If the game becomes a lot more physical, knocking down free throws will be key.
3 – If it wasn’t obvious following Game 1, head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that due to the emergence of Tristan Thompson off the bench, Larry Nance Jr. is currently out of the rotation. He played just three minutes in Thursday night’s win, all of which came when the Cavs already secured the win.
- Just like No. 23 had said multiple times toward the end of the regular season. [↩]