Post-Series Breakdown: Cleveland Cavaliers Sweep Toronto Raptors

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LeBron James
CLEVELAND, USA - DECEMBER 9: LeBron James (23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action during the NBA game between Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers at Quicken Loans Arena on December 9, 2017 in Cleveland, United States. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Different year. Same story.

On Monday night, the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers knocked out the Toronto Raptors for the third straight season. Some believed the Raptors would finally get past the Cavaliers this season.

Instead, Toronto once again fell short in the month of May.

Cleveland Cavaliers Sweep Toronto Raptors

LeBron James

There isn’t much to say about James in this series. He was relatively quiet in Game 1. But after that, he showed why he is the greatest basketball player of his generation. James took all the right shots, made all of the right passes, and played a key role in shutting down Toronto on defense.

In the four games, James had 136 points on 55.3 percent shooting and contributed 45 assists. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry had a combined 138 points on 49.0 percent shooting with 46 assists.

Kevin Love

After having a very quiet first round, Kevin Love found his mojo in Game 2. Going into the series, it was a foregone conclusion that James would dominate. However, Love found his shot, giving the Cavs a 1-2 punch that the Raptors could not handle. The Cavaliers will need Love to continue this play if they want to advance to the NBA Finals and have a chance to win another title.

Cleveland’s Offense Improves

The Cavaliers as a team improved their shooting performance in this series, shooting 41.1 percent from beyond the arc in the second round. After finishing dead last in points per game in the first round, the Cavaliers averaged 118.5 against Toronto (+23.6 from Round 1). Once the Cavaliers began to click on offense, with key shooters J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver making big shots, the series was a wrap.

Missed Opportunities

Game 1 for the Toronto Raptors had their name written all over it. The Raptors had a double-digit lead in the second quarter and James wasn’t dominating the floor. With the game tied in the dying seconds, Toronto missed four potential game-winning shots. Those missed shots took Game 1 to overtime and the Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead, winning by just one point. Game 3 saw the Raptors erase a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter, only to have their hearts broken by James, who added another post-season buzzer-beater to his resume.

DeMar DeRozan

The on-court leader of the Raptors was big for them when it mattered in Round 1 but that didn’t translate to this series. DeRozan was quiet in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and was missing in action when the series turned to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4. DeRozan found himself on the bench for the last 14 minutes of Game 3 as he watched his team go on a run, nearly getting them back in the series. DeRozan’s series was summed up with 24 seconds left in the third quarter of Game 4 when was ejected after received a flagrant two on a Jordan Clarkson layup.

The Cavaliers now find themselves just four wins away from punching their ticket to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.

 

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