Would they even bother? Kyrie Irving did his best to remind us how large the gap is between Cleveland's first and second best players. The Raptors went 14-7 while he was out.
"But I have all the confidence in the world in (backup point guard) Cory Joseph". Cleveland has won and covered the spread in both games thus far. The mentality is, you're down 0-3.
Cleveland had clung to a 79-77 lead at the start of the fourth, but then pulled away as Toronto struggled to connect from the field.
Before the game, coach Dwane Casey compared this series to a boxing match. "But the alternative is however many steps back in the hopes that on the rebuild you're going to get lottery luck and you're going to draft in a year where a great player's available, and five years from now, you're going to be a great outfit". So, as LeBron surveyed the scene, dancing his team around the ring, the Raps threw flurry after flurry trying to knock out the Cavaliers.
Toronto will try to avoid getting swept when Game Four is played at home again on Sunday.
Credit should go to DeRozan though.
Toronto had not lost three consecutive games since the All-Star break. The optimist says they got it half right. Demar DeRozan picked up the scoring load in his absence.
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"When we lost by (31) here past year, everyone knocked us and said it was over with", Casey said. The Cavaliers tied the game at 60 on Love's 3-pointer with 7:13 to play in the third. The champ is the champ for a reason. "We had different expectations, each and every game, each and every game's been different". We have to be more physical, but we also have to keep our composure. Though Kevin Love was aggressive early on, the rest of the Cavaliers seemed bored with the Raptors.
When it came to defending the three-point shot, Cleveland was especially effective, holding Toronto to 2-of-18 from long-range. Toronto's frenzy was for naught.
Kawhi Leonard was the star once more with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The Atlanta Hawks' next general manager will have total authority of personnel decisions following moves on Friday which dismantled the two-tier management team of Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox. Joseph was 2-of-12, his defense the only thing working for him.
After sailing to a first-round sweep of the Pacers, the Cavaliers were supposed to be heading into choppier waters in an Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Raptors.
And of course, there was still LeBron.
James with 35 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Kyle Korver with four 3-point shots led a monstrous second half comeback and silenced the crowd in the Air Canada Centre. At a certain point, whether it was when he bombed threes easily, or hit a left-handed push shot, or ran the break at lightning-fast speed, there is no answer. And now the Toronto Raptors are one loss away from elimination. It knocked out the entire arena. "But next guy, everybody else gotta do something a little bit more to fill whatever void it is he can't fully do out there on the court".
"Defensively, we got stops and Kyle got hot, and when he gets hot, you have to get him the ball", James said in attempting to explain how things drastically changed in the fourth quarter.