CLEVELAND - LeBron James said he felt like critics were "burying my teammates alive" in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs, but after the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Toronto Raptors with a 128-93 Game 4 win Monday to reach the Eastern Conference finals, he and the so-called "Other Cavaliers" got the last laugh. We saw that in the first series so now we should be pretty much immune to it. James got plenty of points but the six-foot-eight Anunoby didn't make it easy.
Time is running out for the Raptors, down 3-0 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
Once again it was LeBron James who landed the fatal blow in Game 3, sealing the Raptors' defeat with a game-winning two-pointer at the buzzer.
James and the Cavaliers have beaten the Raptors in 10 straight playoff games after beating Toronto in three straight postseasons. Whether it was their seemingly unstoppable offense or defense, it was hard to find a flaw in the Cavs' Game 4 performance. Still, the Raptors were down a mere four points late in the first half, when Casey made the quizzical choice to sub in Lucas Nogueira, the offence-challenged Brazilian seven-footer who was making his first appearance of the series.
But in a must-win game, the Raptors never led. "We know they're going to come out, just like they did (Saturday) night in that fourth quarter to try to play and to start the game that way so we got to be prepared for that". The Sonics won Games 4 and 5 before the Bulls put them away in Game 6.
"From Game 1, they were wonderful", James said of his teammates.
Casey, looking for a spark to save the season - and maybe his job - switched starting lineups for the second straight game.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey said his team had paid the price for not being able to recover from shattering losses in games one and three.
"Right now, he's just relishing these moments", forward Kyle Korver said.
But Miles picked up two quick fouls and the Cavs' offense was in gear from the start as Cleveland opened 12 of 15 from the floor while building a 26-17 lead. It's a highlight that has been replayed endlessly on sports TV ever since, along with pundits discussing how Cleveland owns Toronto in the playoffs.
"With him being back and playing with pace, attacking the pick-and-rolls, getting downhill, getting to the basket, causing the veered backs with Kevin so they got to switch now, and now we can post Kevin on smaller guys - that's a big part of what we want to do", head coach Tyronn Lue said.
A lot of talk on why this Raptors team is different from the ones in past years was their bench.
Surprisingly, Matt hopes to draw the Cavaliers again next year - so they can get their own back after being eliminated by the OH team for three years running.
Toronto won 59 games in the regular season to finish atop the conference, four games ahead of the Celtics.