Playoff Recap: Cavs 113, Raptors 112, OT (or, Sometimes You Just Need To Find A Good Support Group)

For once in these 2018 NBA playoffs, LeBron James wasn’t forced to carry the Cavaliers all by himself. On a night when his tired legs produced one of his least efficient games in the post-season to date, he got by with a little help from his friends. Four Cavs scored in double figures, and JR Smith became the first of LeBron’s teammates in eight playoff games to reach the 20 point threshold. Granted, even an off-night for LBJ resulted in his 21st post-season triple double (second only to Magic Johnson’s 30), but having to play 47 minutes in an overtime thriller, 48 hours after finishing off probably his most grueling first round series of his career, meant that he needed all the assistance he could get. The support came from the Cavalier group of veterans in the form of hot outside shooting from Smith and Kyle Korver, a vintage 2016 Tristan Thompson performance, some Jeff Green magic and a bent but not broken Kevin Love.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors (and their fans) might well be seeking professional help after yet another gut-wrenching loss to the team that haunts their dreams of a championship. It’s clear that some type of mental block seems to prevent the Raps from succeeding against the Cavs… especially in opening games of playoff series. Even when they got out to a roaring start on their home floor… built a 13 point lead in the second half… never allowed the Cavs to take the lead in the first 48 minutes… and had a wide open shot to win it at the end of both regulation and overtime… it still wasn’t enough to overcome their wine & gold demons. In the end, the resolve just wasn’t there.

As mentioned though, it was a fast start for the Raptors. They got to the basket at will in the early stages of the first quarter, finding little resistance in the way of rim protection from the Cavs. Jonas Valanciunas abused Kevin Love at the five, grabbing six of his 21 rebounds (three offensive), while scoring four of his 21 points in the opening six minutes. Toronto’s first six buckets were all in the paint as they ran a layup drill on the Cavs. Once they softened things up inside, the Raps started bombing away from three, making four of them to push the lead out to double digits. Fortunately, Korver and Smith hit early bombs to keep the Cavs afloat, and Thompson replaced Love for some much needed interior defense. Tyronn Lue took a calculated risk though by resting LeBron at the 3:30 mark. It looked like it might backfire, as Toronto went on a 7-2 run to close the quarter, and only a few turnover plagued possessions by the Raps kept it from being worse. Toronto led 33-19 after one.

The rest for LeBron seemed to pay dividends in the explosive second quarter, as he led the second unit to a 38 point burst in the 12 minute span. LBJ dished five of his game high 13 assists in the period, and he added four points and four rebounds. He was able to get Jordan Clarkson going for a stretch to start the quarter, and also found Love and Smith for open shots. JR scored 11 of his 20 points in the period, as he used a banana-in-the-tailpipe move on DeRozan to get his shot kick-started. Jeff Green also was aggressive, driving to the hoop, throwing down an alley oop from Bron, canning a mid-ranger and even making me three-sick from deep. Uncle Jeff had himself an 11 point quarter as well, and once again handled DeRozan on the defensive end. The Raptors stopped passing the ball as much, and outside of a couple assisted threes each by CJ Miles and Fred VanVleet, they reverted to their ISO ways. The Cavs came almost all the way back, cutting the lead to one with :30 left before DeRozan finished the scoring. Raps up 60-57 at the break.

The third quarter woes returned for the Cavs, at least to begin the second half, as they went cold and were outscored 12-4 in the first five minutes (18-7 in the first seven). As with the first quarter, Valanciunas was just too much for Love to handle, as the big Lithuanian went off for 13 points and eight rebounds in the period. Kevin had a miserable stretch where he picked up two quick fouls, turned the ball over and missed a fairly wide open three. Green checked in for him and almost immediately blocked a Valanciunas drive, yet Jonas still grabbed his own miss, got fouled and went to the line. Before things got too far out of hand, however, Kyle Korver caught fire from the perimeter, scoring 10 of his 19 in the quarter. Thompson also checked back in to snag four boards and chip in four points around the rim. The Cavs closed the quarter on a 15-7 run to cut into the lead and ratchet up the fear factor of the home crowd. Raps in front 87-82 going into the stretch.

LeBron rested the final couple minutes of the third, and looked to be fresh to start the fourth… but he seemed content with firing up jump shots instead of driving to the rack. Given that he was consistently guarded by smaller players, including Lowry several times, it’s possible that he was still feeling the effects of the minutes logged in the marathon first round. The Cavs fell behind again by double digits following a Delon Wright three and things started looking bleak. But, James found TT under the hoop for two, and then Kevin Love for a critical triple. From there, it was a dogfight as the Cavs cranked up the pressure on the Raptors, and Toronto started misfiring to the extreme. In fact, the Raps made just 5-24 in the quarter, and missed their final 11 attempts in regulation. Meanwhile, JR hit a ridiculous corner three off of a stellar pass from Love…

LeBron finally connected on a triple of his own… and, Tristan Thompson hit all four of his free throws. After Korver missed a wide open corner three, and LeBron fouled Ibaka on a three attempt at the other end (despite some terrific trapping defense on DeRozan that forced the heave), it looked like the comeback would come up short. However, LeBron scored on his only drive of the quarter, then hit a tremendous fall-away jumper over OG Anunoby to knot the score at 105 with 30 seconds left. Toronto ran a play to get VanVleet an open look from three (which he missed) with seven seconds remaining, and three other Raptors (DeRozan, Miles and Valanciunas) all had separate chances to tip the ball in for the win. They all somehow missed, and LeBron came down with the rebound with 0.6 seconds on the clock. Out of the timeout, the Cavs got James an open look, but his 21-footer hit the front of the iron.

The Cavs took their first lead of the game in the overtime period, as Korver knocked down a three (his fifth of the game) off a dime from LeBron. JR Smith made a terrific steal off of Lowry to initiate the possession. After a DeRozan bucket, James found JR for another three (his fifth of the game) to give the Cavs a four point cushion. Following a LeBron misfire (he was 0-4 in overtime), TT snagged the offensive rebound (his eighth of nine) and beat the shot clock with a bucket for a six point lead. But, DeRozan hit a floater, and Kyle Lowry drove for a tough layup and the bonus to pull the Raps within one with just under a minute to go. After another shot clock turnover by the Cavs, Toronto had the ball with 16 seconds left. Out of a timeout, DeRozan once again found VanVleet open (from almost the same spot), but once again he came up short. TT secured the rebound (his 12th) and the Cavs stole home court from the number one seed, 113-112.

The Evil

In theory, I get why Ty Lue thought it would be a good idea to play Kevin Love at the five against Jonas Valanciunas. Given Love’s usual ability to roam beyond the arc, it should make for a tough matchup and force Dwayne Casey to yank Jonas for someone smaller. However, Love (whether due to injury or outlook) is in an extended shooting funk that not only nullifies this advantage, but actually swings it in Toronto’s favor. Valanciunas was an absolute beast in the paint, putting up an incredible 21/21 game. Of course, much of that damage was done against Love and Jeff Green. Here’s how he did when Tristan was on the floor…

Despite how poorly TT played in the regular season, recency bias should have indicated to Coach Lue that he could and probably should have made an adjustment to start the second half based on these numbers. What’s so wrong with sliding Kev back over to the four and letting TT bang with JV like the good old days?

Love was also kind of a wreck with his shooting (3-13, 1-4 from deep)… although, his one three in the fourth was a big one that really helped shift the momentum. He also still managed to snag 13 rebounds, and set a physical tone with his clear-out elbow to the head of DeRozan late in the game. Love did finish -7 on the night, however, he was -20 at one point so it was a good recovery on his part.

It seems strange to criticize LeBron on a night when he notched yet another triple double (26 points, 11 boards and 13 assists), while only turning the ball over once and blocking two shots… yet even he admitted after the game that it was one of his worst shooting nights ever in the playoffs. LBJ was an extremely (for him) inefficient 12-30 from the field, and particularly abysmal from behind the two lines (1-8 from beyond the arc and 1-6 from the stripe). He also seemed passive and/or tired in the fourth quarter and overtime, as he was content to fire jumpers rather than attack the paint and Valanciunas… going just 3-14 over the final 17 minutes. It’s kind of remarkable that the Cavs won a playoff game with LeBron being held scoreless in the overtime period also (even if he did set up most of the points that were scored). I almost forgot… he did also throw down this crazy dunk off an inbounds…

George Hill’s back clearly isn’t completely right yet. He was limited to 28 minutes, and was short on most of his shots (just 2-7). He did still play some good defense on Lowry, and was good for three dimes on the night.

The Cavs’ young guns off the bench were once again mostly firing blanks. Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood shot a combined 3-12 (1-4 from three) for seven points in their 28 minutes of floor time. Hood remains essentially invisible out there… unless he’s getting ragdolled on defense, but at least Clarkson made somewhat of an impact in the second quarter run… including this sweet under the hoop move…

Larry Nance, Jr. joined the glued-to-the-bench-bunch of Cedi, Zizic and Calderon tonight, as Lue went with a shortened rotation. Sure seems like Nance could’ve helped against Valanciunas and Jakob Poeltl… but, what the hell do I know?

The Genius

The support group was in full effect for LeBron in this game. Yes, he had his second triple double of these playoffs, but the veterans stepped up big time when needed. Kyle Korver and JR Smith alternately torched the Raptors from deep throughout the game. JR was a bit more efficient (6-11, 5-6 from downtown) for his 20 points, but Korver gave the Cavs their first lead of the game (7-17, 5-12 from deep) and finished with 19.  JR also had two crucial steals.

Somewhere in the midst of all of his personal turmoil (no need to rehash that here), Tristan Thompson has recaptured the form that made him such an invaluable piece during the first two Finals runs. You could say it’s because he’s back in his home town of Toronto… although this trend started with Game 7 against the Pacers. All TT did was revert to his vintage dynamite self… pulling down 12 boards (9 offensive!) and shooting 5-8 from the field and a terrific 4-4 from the line (with the crowd chanting mercilessly at him). Every one of his 14 points and dozen rebounds was needed for this win. Let’s hope the resurgence continues throughout the rest of the playoffs.

Jeff Green was close to perfect offensively as he stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points (4-4 from the field, 7-8 from the line), two rebounds and three assists. He also notched two steals and a block, and played some decent defense on DeMar DeRozan (less decent on the Raptor big men).

After allowing the Raptors to fire away at a 65% clip in the first quarter, the Cavs held them to just 43% for the game. Granted, Toronto also missed a lot of open and point blank shots… but still, the Cavs’ defense deserves at least a bit of the credit for making the Raptors feel them.

Somehow, the Cavs became just the second team in the last 20 years to win a playoff game in which they never led in regulation…

Oh yeah… and for some reason, Drake decided it was a good idea to try and start a beef with Angry Smurf…

Parting Shot

While I had a feeling the Cavs had a real shot to steal this one, especially given Toronto’s apparent weird complex with LeBron and Co., things looked troubling in the first and third. Some of that was probably due to the fatigue hangover from the first round, but they didn’t help themselves by sticking with Love at the five and their usual third quarter lazy jumper malaise. These are both issues that can (and should) be remedied with better coaching decisions… yet, even if they aren’t, the Cavs still have a very obvious mental edge on the Raptors. Cleveland wasn’t afraid of Indiana… but they should have been. They are also not afraid of Toronto, and until the Raptors show more mental toughness… they might not have to be. The bottom line is that even given a poor (by his standards) game by LeBron, the Cavs still stole home court advantage from the Raps. And, as long as they don’t take them too lightly… round two might not prove to be nearly as taxing as the first was. Let’s just be glad that LeBron’s support group is finally showing up.

Share
JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 16 days ago

I hope the Cavs don’t get affected negatively by the NBA’s brilliant decision to schedule this series for teams to face each other every other day.
I guess the Cavs mentality should be to try to end this series as quick as possible.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
4 months 16 days ago

Well if scheduling is what sinks us, we weren’t going much further anyways

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
4 months 16 days ago

I dunno. I recall Love’s numbers on 1 days rest versus 2 days rest pretty absurdly different

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
4 months 16 days ago

Yes they are. Although I wonder if given his current form, giving him less time to think might help him.

Sim
Guest
Sim
4 months 16 days ago

lue for a change is actually making sense Love should still be left at the five because that would allow r offense to click on all cylinders and force the other teAm to make adjustments . However if love isn’t hitting shots and therefore the raptors aren’t being forced to make adjustments than we need to insert tt even though it hampers our best offense to deal with their big v. It’s that simple. When tt is in we have a difficult time generating consistent offense bec they always got an extra defender to help on anyone that beat their man and we can rarely make them pay when that happens when it’s tt defender.

Wes
Guest
Wes
4 months 16 days ago

I always come back to these to read the comment thread. Just noticed the title says Pacers instead of Raptors! :)

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 16 days ago

Haha, good catch. I didn’t even notice.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 16 days ago

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
4 months 16 days ago

Yeah super disappointing. DX was by far the best draft resource out there.

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
4 months 16 days ago

Please play TT so he dominates JV and the rest of Raptors front court, and hence his trade value goes up. Cavs must be league leaders in insanely stupid contracts.

Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
Guest
Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
4 months 16 days ago

TT is earning his money this playoffs so far

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 16 days ago

I agree with Mr Green. He was the reason the Cavs won game 7 against Indy and he played better than Love the last two games.

Do I think he’s overpaid? Yes.

Do I want him traded? Yes.

Is he the best option at center at the moment? Considering Lue won’t play Zz, yes.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 16 days ago

Are there any rule junkies that can explain to me why the Cavs didn’t get a free throw and the ball at the end of overtime when they called Derozan for a foul on Tristan with .3 left after he’d already passed the ball? Isn’t that the rule for a deliberate foul off the ball in the final 2 min?

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
4 months 16 days ago

They awarded cavs a timeout, not a foul. thats why they inbounded at half court

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 16 days ago

They wanted to go home.

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 16 days ago

Haha ;)

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
4 months 16 days ago

For those of you who did not watch the game last night, he’s a sample of the action:

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
4 months 16 days ago

thank you for this

Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
Guest
Mr. Green in the Library using JRs Laid Pipe.
4 months 16 days ago

Please let NBA not turn into Futbol…

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 16 days ago

It’s extremely sad to see how both of them were trying to flop at the same time. They both knew where the other one was and went full on Varejao on the flopping motion.

\"new\"nomad
Guest
\"new\"nomad
4 months 16 days ago

so the TRIBE has a 4;00 start—-CAVS/ 6;00—so hopefully by 9;00 we will be celebrating a CLEVELAND SWEEP —-GO TRIBE—-GO CAVS !!

\"new\"nomad
Guest
\"new\"nomad
4 months 16 days ago

saw some of it —–man do they baby Harden —it is so blatantly obvious —pathetic—-he leans in / pushes off on defender–initiates the contact and they whistle a foul on the defender —-want to make you puke—then LeBron drives to the hoop —gets “totally mugged ” and gets–( alot of times )–a no call —WTF ??

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 16 days ago

Bummed I missed this game last night.

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
4 months 17 days ago

Didn’t hear about the Cavs standing fine of $100 for biting on a DeRozan pumpfake, apparently been around for a year or two. TT keen to avoid the fine last game apparently, according to Windy.

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

So many big time performances for the Jazz… 8 of them with big time contributions.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
4 months 17 days ago

Mitchell ‘struggled’ and Ingles was awesome, but Mitchell is still incredible. Made a lot of plays even when shots were not falling.

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

Yup…. LBJ-like double digit assists even though the shot wasn’t falling.

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
4 months 17 days ago

Too bad they don’t have Rubio…I still think they can give the Rockets fits…going back to Utah, which is a bad city, to quote Dirk…

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

Definitely… gonna be tough to win in Utah….

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
4 months 17 days ago

Great game from Utah, especially when the Rockets took the lead. Cannot believe how good Mitchell is as a rookie. He craps all over Tatum, who has been really good.

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

What was impressive was the assist even though his shot wasn’t falling…. and also the fact he wasn’t afraid to keep shooting even though it wasn’t his night.

Tim
Guest
Tim
4 months 16 days ago

Fearless, like a much less crazy, in control Westbrook.

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

UTAH BABY!!! WHAT A TEAM!

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

Exum with the clutch dunk!

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
4 months 17 days ago

Man, Mitchell is an absolute gem…may be a future MVP…

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
4 months 16 days ago

He’s a total stud. Definitely think he’s a future mvp

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

Yup…. absolutely clutch layup right there to keep the margin from getting tight.

CLF
Guest
CLF
4 months 17 days ago

Insane putback dunk by Mitchell and Ingles with a deadeye 3!!!

NickNevers
Guest
NickNevers
4 months 17 days ago

Watching James Harden play basketball gives me a headache.

Peter
Guest
Peter
4 months 17 days ago

Love was getting mugged by two defenders for awhile with no foul being whistled, how was he supposed to clear space?

John B
Guest
John B
4 months 17 days ago

That wouldn’t have been a flagrant in the 90s. Shaq, Rodman, Oakley used to swing like that all the time, except their elbows were out. They used to teach that when I was in high school. Part of the nudering of big men in today’s NBA.

GrumpyOldMan
Guest
GrumpyOldMan
4 months 16 days ago

I thought the rule was if the offensive player stays within his own “cylinder” then if a defensive player enters into that cylinder and is hit it is a no call either way…It seemed to me that Love was straight up and swung his elbows without sticking them out staying within his cylinder and DeRozan unfortunately for him stuck his face into Love’s space…According to the rules this is not a flagrant or common foul…

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
4 months 17 days ago

The two minute report cited a missed foul by DeRozan on Love that preceded Love’s elbow.

\"new\"lost \"nomad
Guest
\"new\"lost \"nomad
4 months 17 days ago

hey remember me—-HOW IS THIS –NOW YOU REMEMBER ME —–sorry haven’t tuned in ( maybe I should stay away as the cavs won 2 games )—–BEEN EXTREMELY BUSY ——MISSED ALL THE CTB “CHATTER “—–good to be back —-“don’t shoot the messenger ” if cavs lose next game——yes am in agreement with a lot of you—-move klove back to the 4 spot !!———–notice I didn’t bad mouth ty or mention to “FREE ANTE ” —–AM SURE THAT WILL COME SOON ENOUGH

NickNevers
Guest
NickNevers
4 months 17 days ago

So Kevin Love’s elbow on Derozan has been upgraded to a flagrant.

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 months 17 days ago

Is he suspened?

NickNevers
Guest
NickNevers
4 months 17 days ago

No not suspended and yeah that play was ridiculous from the get-go as you outlined below.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
4 months 17 days ago

No suspension. It’s a flagrant-1, with one point on his record for these playoffs. Four points would get him suspended for a game.

The two minute report has two incorrect calls at the end of the 4th quarter — an uncalled foul by DeRozan on Love in the rebound battle, followed by Love’s elbow, which should have been a flagrant.

And one no-call in overtime that went against the Cavs.

http://official.nba.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/05/L2M-CLE-TOR-05-01-2018.pdf

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 months 17 days ago

I was stunned it was not a flagrant in game. He got fouled blatantly about 5 times, traveled, and the elbowed someone in the face.

They got every call wrong.

Right Down Euclid
Guest
Right Down Euclid
4 months 17 days ago

Bah. Windhorst said we could have traded Kyrie for Paul George straight up before his trade demand and Pacers really wanted to do it

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 months 17 days ago

PG13 is a good player. But he is not a guy you throw the ball to and get out of the way. He is a good defender. A good offensive player, does a lot of things well, but nothing consistently elite. Works better in a system.

There are only a few elite soloists: Bron, Curry, Durant, Harden, Kyrie, CP3, Davis, & Boogie.

Dipo & Mitchell are close. As are Butler & DeRozan. Russ is too inefficient. Embiid also close.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
4 months 17 days ago

Color me unimPressed with Playoff P.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
4 months 17 days ago

He’s more impressive than IT, Crowder, or Zizic, however, in these playoffs.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
4 months 17 days ago

Theory: we are starting Love at the 5 to pump up JVs value and force the Raps in to a future overpay, thus eating cap space and sealing their fate as pretenders to the throne. Ya’ll playing checkers – Ty Lue is playing chess.

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
4 months 17 days ago

Lol!! If Ty Lue is playing chess, the whole world is playing checkers

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
4 months 17 days ago

TT needs to start with KLove at the 4.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

Sam Amico is getting sad. Just re-peddling the garbage that Vecsey and the like put out. It’s gotten to the point where if Vecsey “reports” something it’s actually less likely to be true.

JMay
Editor
4 months 16 days ago

Ya, this seems really far-fetched. Irresponsible reporting.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
4 months 17 days ago

Encarnacion had 3 bombs today.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
4 months 17 days ago

and BA approaching .200. Hopefully w warmer weather…

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
4 months 17 days ago

And Lue indicates KLove will start at center. Happiness.

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 months 17 days ago

Of course he does.

Of the 3 younger guys we got in the trades, Nance is the only consistently smart player. And the only one who Lue benches.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
4 months 17 days ago

Missed the first three quarters (will have to catch up w DVR this evening). Why the complete DNP for Nance? Has he not demonstrated that he can be an effective (or even just adequate) contributor, esp for a team that does not have a ton of well-established bigs?

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
4 months 17 days ago

Drake’s music sucks by the way!

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
4 months 17 days ago

Ha haaaa, love this!!

Right Down Euclid (the first)
Guest
Right Down Euclid (the first)
4 months 17 days ago

Is it me or do the wine jerseys look fantastic on grainy Twitter highlights? Also we’re probably the only team in the league with a sponsor logo that is a net positive to the jersey look. That golden wingfoot on the wine jersey is slammin’

JMay
Editor
4 months 17 days ago

I really dig the Goodyear logo, too.

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 17 days ago

I was thinking about the logo yesterday while watching the horrible – mall t-shirt kiosk style – raptors’ logo.

The golden wingfoot looks phenomenal on the wine jerseys.

Jwhodey
Guest
Jwhodey
4 months 17 days ago

So we have streaky shooters and Love is injured. However, are we starting to heat up from outside, or we’re the Pacers just really good at pressuring our shots?

Og Anunoby is getting a lot of hype for his D and LeBron wasn’t his most efficient, but overall the Raptors D last night fell flat with me.

Also, does Drake ever travel with the team? Do we have Usher lined up to counter his impact? Pretty sure Perk doesn’t have the star power to limit the Drizzy Effect…

JRL
Guest
JRL
4 months 17 days ago
Great recap and great win. The Raptors have gotten themselves into a mental funk against LeBron(Cavs). Once the pressure picked up in the 4th and the crowd was taken away from it all, they didn’t produce. A few gripes which don’t matter much at the moment since the Cavs won – Tired LeBron is a bad decision maker. He needs to either pass the ball to the hot hand or attack the basket. Heaving long 2’s or 3’s on tired legs won’t help anyone. Lue needs to bench Hood and play Cedi. For whatever the reason, Hood isn’t comfortable playing under pressure and has been a TO machine. Cedi needs those minutes. Lue needs to do right by Love and play him at 4. I would have to assume that Love hasn’t complained about it, but it’s obvious to anyone with eyes that he’s not built for banging against solid centers. That’s all for now ;) Sidenote: TT has proven why he got paid the $$ he did. Now he must continue to play with this intensity. I was ready to call him “over the hill” but he worked himself back into shape and it shows. Good for him. I… Read more »
Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
4 months 17 days ago

Post game Love actually said he preferred playing the 4.

Elijah Kim
Member
4 months 17 days ago

Great recap.

LeBron is so great that a “bad game” is a triple double. If LeBron shot close to 50%, it would have been a blowout.

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
4 months 17 days ago

We may actually be going too hard on LeBron given how strong his D was in Q4 and OT last night and that leading to bad offense. That said if we could just run some damn plays he wouldn’t have to take everything on himself and force bad jumpers

mark priceless
Guest
mark priceless
4 months 17 days ago

facts

Charlie E
Guest
Charlie E
4 months 17 days ago

JR finally rounding into shape were he can play tough D and shoot the ball. Agree with all that we should be playing Cedi over Hood.

I think Toronto should run more guys and not shorten their bench so much. That bench was a huge part of their regular season identity. Just once I’d like to see some coach have the balls to stick with a long bench and tell his guys to really push themselves, instead of going with conventional wisdom.

Gordon
Guest
Gordon
4 months 17 days ago

Question – is there a chance of Love getting healthy in the playoffs? Didn’t he TEAR the ligament in his thumb?

bobb
Guest
bobb
4 months 17 days ago

When we sweep the Raptors and the Sixers/Celtics series goes 7, he’ll have plenty of rest.

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
4 months 17 days ago

Oh man how good would a sweep be. I don’t think it will happen, but if it did it would reset the board somewhat for this team.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 17 days ago

It’s a 6-week injury with rest, but he’s playing through it and every time you get hit the wrong way, it re-aggravates it. It could get marginally better though since it’s just a partial tear. I think it’s similar but not as bad as the one Aldridge had a couple times where he delayed surgery to play through the playoffs.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
4 months 17 days ago

Can’t understand why he wasn’t out longer to heal. Seems like this will bite us in the behind.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 16 days ago

Aldridge played a similar injury that required surgery. It’s something that either gets slightly better or you learn to play with it better the more you go along. But if you’re talking 6 weeks recovery, that’s almost the whole playoffs. And even when Love is playing bad, he still helps a lot because of his gravity vs. Jeff Green, Tristan, Nance or Zizic.

MJ 45
Guest
MJ 45
4 months 17 days ago

Gutsy win. Korver getting 12 3s off I think is the best sign – about 9 of them were good looks

I liked seeing all th charges drawn. Love had one late that coulda ended the game, but the refs swallowed their whistle. LeBron even had one. That was good scouting by the Cavs. And yes, I just complimented Lue

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 17 days ago
For me, the game really turned when Lebron went into #winning mode in the 4th and wouldn’t let Love keep being passive, even after seeming pissed off at him in the 1st half. Did anybody else see him at halfcourt yelling at Love to take CJ Miles down to the post when Toronto seemed to decide that Love wasn’t going to do anything? After that Love, scored on a hook, had a nifty baseline drive and pass to JR(?), that monster 3 and became a one-handed beast on the boards. I remember telling my buddy earlier in the game that somebody needs to just yell at K Love to just play his goddamn game. On top of that Lebron hit some seriously clutch shots despite the tired legs and off-shooting night, shut down Lowry and most of the Raps weakside action and had that huge hustle play when Korver missed from straight away on a kickout and Lebron jumped into a swarm of Raps going for the board that ended with the ball going off the Raps out of bounds and giving the Cavs a fresh 24 with 40 seconds and change left. Also, I just want to thank the… Read more »
Boogieeels
Guest
Boogieeels
4 months 17 days ago

I agree. Sometimes players who get lost in their own head need that kind of in your face criticism. What Love does NOT respond well to, however, is that sort of passive aggressive/ is he or isn’t he sort criticism. Glad Lebron has pretty much cut that out.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
4 months 17 days ago

He did seem to be forcing the issue with love post ups in the fourth which I thought was interesting. Maybe trying to get him going and boost his confidence.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 17 days ago

I mean, he had CJ Miles on him without even needing to work for a switch, which I didn’t realize until Lebron started yelling. Amazing recognition and trust, considering Love was barely even competing up to that point.

Boogieeels
Guest
Boogieeels
4 months 17 days ago

I thought Lue coached a good game last night. Could’ve went to TT a little earlier, but otherwise, he did a good job. Out of bounds plays were good. Turnovers were down. I really liked the earlier rests for Lebron…I think Lue should rest him with 2-3 minutes left Quarter 1-3. I’d sacrifice the points early for a truly non-gassed Lebron in the 4th. Also, I think taking Lebron out earlier than expected kind of tripped up Casey/his rotations. We bash on Lue a lot (deservedly) but to not have a single lead the while game until OT and to still keep the team together/battling for a Win is good coaching.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 17 days ago
All the sports science studies show that playing the entire 1st basically means you aren’t going to be able to recover back to baseline for the rest of the game. Lebron is a scientific anomaly, but still. Lue’s made some decent adjustments, but he’s made them super late and still hasn’t made any adjustments to account for Hood and Clarkson’s negative contributions. Are you telling me that Cedi couldn’t give more than Rodney Hood right now, even as a rookie? Less would be impossible. That said, Hood’s shooting could be a game changer if he gets going, but he’s a rhythm player and nobody’s getting in a rhythm if you aren’t generating good looks for them. If you’re going to throw Hood out there, put him with Lebron or George Hill as the small-small pick n pop screener. And Love is begging him to move him back to the 4 with his words and play. Love shoots way better when he’s spotting up than when he sets the screen and pops, so having that second big man setting solid screens gets him better looks. And even though he’s undersized, Nance’s quickness and smarts could really challenge JV in this series… Read more »
Boogieeels
Guest
Boogieeels
4 months 17 days ago

Agreed on the lineup stuff, but this team after trade just never had a chance to get all the guys healthy at the same time and playing with a consistent lineup together. We should be careful judging Hill/Clarkson/Nance until after a full off season together where coaching staff really has time to determine what they do well out on the court/how they can be best utilized/specific plays or sets/etc. Pretty much putting them out there and saying “Give us some good minutes” is about all they can realistically ask of them. I love Cedi and would love to see him out there but unless you’re Donovan Mitchell, I don’t care who the coach is…rookies just don’t see much playing time in the playoffs.

Scotch
Guest
Scotch
4 months 17 days ago

There are about 6 rookies seeing minutes in the current playoffs…so cedi wouldn’t be an anomaly. Fully agree on the other stuff though.

JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 17 days ago

I think KLove should add some muscle like back when he was with the wolves. Maybe that would help him go back to his old self.

Boogieeels
Guest
Boogieeels
4 months 17 days ago

Kevin is INJURED. This is obvious. Muscle won’t help that. His thumb is essentially like a noodle out there. Playing thru it. Props.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 17 days ago

He literally didn’t use his left hand, except that one time he lost a rebound trying to use it, until the 4th quarter. Cavs guards and Bron need to step up on the boards. If Love is sealing JV and tipping the ball up, they need to be right there to corral it all game. Another reason to have a second big out there… so Love can focus on positioning and keeping JV sealed while another big is there to get the board. Again, Nance could be huge here because of his good hands and ability to make a smart outlet or bring the ball into the frontcourt quickly on his own.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love showing why injuries matter. TT wasn’t healthy all year. He’s in shape (noticeably leaner) and has his bounce back. Love can’t shoot with a bum left hand and it’s affected his confidence and even ability to grip the ball for rebounds. There is no reason this team can’t get to the finals if they can all get healthy.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

Unreal win. Feel like this series is there for the taking. Replace Hood with Cedi, start TT (which I never thought I’d be saying), and bring Nance off the bench and the Cavs are right there.

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 months 17 days ago

I am with you, Nate.

My two main gripes from Lue were he was too slow to get Kev to the 4 and didn’t use Nance. And no Cedi.

It’s Lue, since we won, there will be no adjustments.

If TT starts, who sits? Hill and his iffy back seem a candidate, but then one of KK/LBJ has to take Lowry/DeRozan. Korver is the other choice, and that creates some spacing issues.

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
4 months 17 days ago

Why not start Lebron, JR, Kyle, Love and Tristan with Lebron at point. Iguodala at point worked well for dubs.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

LeBron needs a secondary handler. JR isn’t that guy.

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
4 months 17 days ago

I know Love is struggling but I feel like if Love touches the ball, Cavs usually get a good shot. Between Lebron, JR and Love – Cavs could be okay against Raps D.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 17 days ago

That only works if you really want to slow down the game. You only have one reliable ballhandler (and JR). Raps can’t press like the Pacers, but you’re still gonna get a one-dimensional stagnant, offense. Only 1 guy who can initiate any offense (and JR). Only 1 transition threat with the ball in his hands, who is also your only transition finisher at the rim. And only 1 playmaker in the middle on rolls, who is also your only ball-handler.

Korver would have to sit because you need JR’s D on Derozan, so at this point it’s probably just gotta be this way with Love at the 5 and hope he gets it going because they can’t wait for Lue to figure out (or just as likely not figure out) how to maximize Korver and JR’s time on the floor with Lebron or George Hill at all times if one isn’t starting without Lebron playing 46 a night.

Gordon
Guest
Gordon
4 months 17 days ago

Agreed. I just can’t wrap my head around why Cedi doesn’t play. I’d rather have his size, energy and hustle than Hood’s awful play. I understand that some guys don’t play great next to LeBron, especially in the playoffs. Hood is one of those guys. But at some point, it doesn’t hurt to try the younger, energetic Cedi to see what happens.

JB225
Guest
JB225
4 months 17 days ago

Exactly, at this point Hood is giving the Cavs nothing so why not try Cedi and see what happens.

Sim
Guest
Sim
4 months 17 days ago

Nance is too good to be parked on bench

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
4 months 17 days ago

While Lue is matching up Love against Jonas, the Cavs’ analytics department is locked in the basement of the Q, tapping out a message in Morse code on a pipe: “Love at the 4. Is there anybody there? Love at the 4….”

Nate Smith
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

Lol. +1

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
4 months 17 days ago

Great win. I thought the Cavs would be too tired to put up much of a fight. Enjoying the ride!

The last possession of the game for both teams was really poor (and both after timeouts, I think). For the Cavs, Lebron dribbling out the clock and then heaving up a desperation three. And then the Raptors bring in the guy who has been icing his injured right shoulder on the sidelines to launch a three. Dumb.

Jason
Guest
Jason
4 months 17 days ago

We could have had 2 for 1 and got that instead.

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
4 months 17 days ago

I think there would have been a lot of deserved criticism for Lue et. al. if things had gone differently. I hope that they take a look at that in the film room today.

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
4 months 17 days ago

Nice summary EG. I particulary like the Philosoraptor graphic insert at the top with the dinosaur scratching his chin in thought. I think the Philosoraptor is contemplating why Lue continues to play Love at the 5? TLue deserves credit for reinserting TT into the lineup, however, he just can’t continue to be stubborn about playing Love where Kevin is now publicly saying he doesn’t want to be, and more importantly, clearly isn’t as effective as power forward. Start TT at the 5, Love at the 4, and bring Nance off the bench. That isn’t so hard to for the Philosoraptor to figure out is it? But then dinosaur’s do have small brains in relation to their body size. I know it would be asking too much for Lue to consider giving Cedi some of the dreadful Hood’s minutes. Great win. It’s all over if Cavs step on the Raptors throats in Game Two.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 months 17 days ago

Thanks for the great recap, EG.

I think the most underrated storyline of the playoffs is that that Cavs have “flipped the switch” from an offensive juggernaut that will regularly put up 120 to a grinder team that’s playing some inspired (if sometimes uneven) defense.

In the regular season, the Cavs were the second worst team in defensive efficiency. Meanwhile, the Pacers were 12th in offensive efficiency and the Raptors were 2nd.

Not saying the Cavs are suddenly a good defensive team, and their decision to slow walk the offense is keeping points overall lower than we might have seen in the regular season….

Still, they look more like merely a flawed defensive team and not a horror show. I really wish Kevin Love wasn’t so banged up – he was having a great season and if he was on the Cavs would be cruising.

Jack
Guest
Jack
4 months 17 days ago

Playoff JR has helped. He’s still an above average on-ball defender, and he cranks it up in the playoffs when things slow down. He always does well on Derozan, and after dealing with Dipo in the 1st round, honestly Derozan is kind of a break for him. Derozan is great, but he’s a little one-dimensional and nowhere near the explosiveness of Dipo or the off-ball threat that really makes it tough for a 32-year-old who probably has ADD.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
4 months 17 days ago
Good steal of a win. As pointed out, Lebron, likely due to fatigue and maybe JV, was weirdly passive in going to the bucket. The third qtr cavs jumper malaise also probably prevented them from taking control much earlier. Otherwise, had LBJ been in normal attack mode and had the cavs not shot so many midrangers to start the third, they likely would have had a comfortable lead in the fourth. However, the raptors basically seemed to be giving the game away down the stretch. They messed up coverages a lot by leaving open the two guys (JR and KK) that you can’t afford to leave open multiple times. They also had so many open shots and missed bunnies down the stretch any of which could have given them the lead. Finally, they shot themselves in the foot with a couple of bad out of bounds plays and an unforced turnover off a rebound down the stretch. Cavs tried to hand it right back with some bad possessions in the closing min as well. They likely could have avoided all the pressure in the fourth to begin with if they hadn’t had that bout of second qtr sloppiness which prevented… Read more »
JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
4 months 17 days ago

May you forever Choke-strong, Raptors.

JMay
Editor
4 months 17 days ago

Love couldn’t score to save his life, but he came up with some BIG rebounds in this game. He was definitely a force on the boards. And with him boxing out, TT was able to do some work on the O-Boards too.

Right Down Euclid
Guest
Right Down Euclid
4 months 17 days ago

Great write up. The evil was in the details

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
4 months 17 days ago

Another classic EG recap. Thanks for your efforts!

My favorite part of the game was the Cavs defense on those late inbounds situations. Forcing the five second call (and watching Casey lose his mind), then seeing the raptors have to toss it into the deep back court at least twice, which disrupted their playmaking on those possessions.

wpDiscuz