Fans thought Toronto was in it to win it, but the Cavaliers fought back to steal the W for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Raptors dominated the scoreboard and the court for 58 minutes, leading fans to believe the first round of the series would end in their favor. But the Cavaliers took their first lead of the game in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, which lead to a 113-112 overtime win. LeBron James lead the way with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, but got some much needed help from the rest of his teammates.
Four Cavalier players not named LeBron James scored in double figures.
JR Smith scored 20 points, while Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson scored 19, 16 and 14 points, respectively. During the series against Indiana, LeBron won each game without a teammate scoring more than 20 points. That statistic must have triggered something in the rest of the Cavaliers.
Their Game 1 effort must be replicated in order to ensure two things: advance to the Eastern Conference Finals and preserve King James’ energy for the remainder of their playoff run.
With 0.6 seconds left, the four-time MVP missed a mid-range look that could have possibly won the game. Then, he didn’t put any points on the board in overtime.
“My teammates were unbelievable tonight,” James said. “They stepped up when I wasn’t at my best.”
JR Smith hit five three-point shots in the game, including a clutch three-pointer in overtime, with a LeBron James assist.
On the Raptors side of the ball, they shot an abysmal five for 24 in the final 12 minutes of the game and missed 11 straight field goal attempts to end the regulation game. Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry came through with a combined 40 points while Jonas Valanciunas finished with 21 points and 21 rebounds. Unfortunately, it was not enough to start the series with a win at home, and Raptors head coach, Dwayne Casey, felt the team did a poor job closing out the game.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or yips or what,” he said. “Just things that shot ourselves in the foot when we had a 10-point lead.”
The Raptors failed to take advantage of a poor shooting night from LeBron James. The three-time NBA champion, who scored 40 points or more in three of the four wins in the previous series, found more ways to be effective. He hit a mid-range fadeaway late in the fourth quarter to give the Cavs the lead, and did not look back from there.
Game 2 will be played in Toronto tomorrow (May 3).