Cavs still trumping Raptors in play-offs

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • Little has changed between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors.

LeBron James scored 35 points, Kyrie Irving added 24 and the Cavs easily put the Raptors down 116-105 in Game One of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Eastern Conference semi-finals on Monday.

The Cavs led by as many as 25 points and were ahead by 22 when the fourth quarter began. The Raptors did not really cut into the lead until garbage time.

Cleveland have now beaten Toronto three consecutive times in the play-offs, dating to last season's Eastern Conference finals.

And all five of the Cavs' wins over the Raptors in the post-season have come by double digits.

The average margin of victory in the last series was 15.5 points.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James trying for a lay-up in the first half of their NBA East semi-finals Game One clash against the Toronto Raptors. James had 35 points to lead the Cavs to victory.
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James trying for a lay-up in the first half of their NBA East semi-finals Game One clash against the Toronto Raptors. James had 35 points to lead the Cavs to victory. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

"I don't think about the past or the future," said James, who added 10 rebounds and four assists.

"I worry about the present. That's all my whole mindset is how we can get this win today, Game One, how can we get this win? How can we play? What can I do to help our team be successful?

"That's how I'm able to stay fresh because I don't think about the past and the future is a mystery. Got to live in the present."

James also tied Kobe Bryant for second place in league history by scoring at least 30 points in a play-off game for the 88th time.

Irving added 10 assists for Cleveland after posting just 12 assists against the Miami Heat in the first round. Tristan Thompson contributed 11 points and 14 rebounds, and Kevin Love finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.

The Raptors were led by 20 points from Kyle Lowry and 19 from DeMar DeRozan, who averaged 29.7 points against the Cavs during the regular season.

P.J. Tucker had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Serge Ibaka added 15 points for Toronto, who are now 1-12 in franchise history in Game One of any play-off series.

"It seems the same," said Lowry, who recorded 11 assists. "They get big spurts, and we fight back. We have to find ways to eliminate the spurts.

"We know that they are going to be a high-flying team that likes to get up and down. But we have to find a way to not let them get going and get the crowd involved."

Cleveland scored 12 more points on threes than the Raptors (14 three-pointers to 10) and seven more from the foul line.

"They were off for a week and they were fresh, but it wasn't like we had just finished playing," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.

"We had a couple days of rest, but we have to switch gears from the Milwaukee series to this series. I thought they were the quicker team tonight and we have to match that."

The Cavs are now 16-1 at home in the Eastern Conference play-offs dating to 2015 and 29-4 overall.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2017, with the headline 'Cavs still trumping Raptors in play-offs'. Print Edition | Subscribe