The Cavs beat the Raptors 108-89 tonight and they’ve now won their first 10 games of the playoffs in a row. The Raptors were in it deep into the second quarter, until the Cavs ripped off a 16-2 run and then they weren’t in it. The 10-game watermark serves as a referendum on both the sickly state of the Eastern Conference as well as the terrifying form LeBron James in inevitably rumbling towards the Finals with. Sure, the Raptors might storm back and somehow topple the Cavs if Jonas Valanciunas returns and like three Cleveland dudes get injures.
But, also, counterpoint:
A second counterpoint:
Rule of threes:
LeBron James has only had to take 26 shots in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals and he’s shooting 69 percent while leading an offense that’s scored 227 points in the series. Tonight, he put up 23 points, 11 boards, and 11 assists in 34 minutes of rather easy work. Toronto is doing a good job of staggering DeMarre Carroll’s minutes such that he’s on James as much as possible, but all he can do is get roasted more slowly than hapless Terrence Ross. LeBron hasn’t hit a three yet this series and it doesn’t even matter. Look at those highlights, particularly the second and third ones. He’s just too strong, too fast, too much, to be contained right now.
His stats don’t leap off the page nearly the same way his play does. When he’s running the Cavs’ offense, he’s a battering ram of a driver who can pass. There was a play in the fourth quarter when the game was already wrapped up where James had a defender posted up with two seconds left on the shot clock. He evaded his man, crashed into two other guys, got fouled, and still almost made the shot, all in under two seconds. Nobody else can do that, and his team of floor spacers gives him more room than he had last playoffs to slice into the lane and use his incredible playmaking skills. He’s not at his peak, but he’s still too damn good for the Eastern Conference.