Published: Sun, May 06, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

Playoffs: James is the last-gasp hero for Cavaliers

Playoffs: James is the last-gasp hero for Cavaliers

LeBron James banked in an off balance floater at the buzzer, lifting the Cleveland to a 105-103 win over the Toronto Raptors and giving the Cavaliers a stranglehold 3-0 playoff series lead on Saturday.

Every time the Raptors pushed, James pushed back. But it wasn't enough. "Everyone was just joining the party", Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said.

Game 4 is Monday night, and the odds are stacked against the rattled Raptors.

"We still got some work to do", James said. "Our pride is on the line". "I told ya'll in the in series, that mental clock of being a kid and telling myself "3, 2, 1" and making the noise of the net".

Kyle Lowry sank 27 points for the Raptors, who will now have to make National Basketball Association history if they are to emerge triumphant from the seven-game series. Anunoby drained a 3-pointer to tie it at 103 with eight seconds remaining before James reached into his extensive bag of tricks. James received the inbounds, marched up court and then went towards the rim.

"He split the trap and went 100 miles an hour down the floor and lost our guy", Casey lamented. At 33, he continues to dazzle with a seemingly endless arsenal. "Great players make great plays".

As the noise level in Quicken Loans Arena rose to jet-engine levels, the Cavs sprinted from the other end of the court and mobbed James.

"The level of difficulty of that shot, it was very hard", he said with a smile. "Don't try it at home".

That consistency, though, has disappeared in the post-season.

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That disastrous stretch proved too much to overcome, even as the Raptors fought and fought some more in the second half, only to be killed one more time by the murderous reign of King James. In order for Toronto to be successful in Game 3 they must take better care of the ball. But they are still left amazed.

"I was just trying to press up on Joell, he's such a tough cover", Horford said of the steal. "We will not put our guards down". The Raptors also helped Cleveland's cause with 17 turnovers, which yielded 18 points. Any team that takes care of the ball like that, they're damn near guaranteed to win.

The Cavaliers have won 11 of their last 13 playoff games against the Raptors, including nine straight victories. He finished the shot to give the Celtics the lead.

Kyle Lowry scored 27 points for Toronto, which clawed back in the fourth quarter while All-Star DeMar DeRozan was on the bench.

For the first time this season the Toronto Raptors are in serious trouble.

"When do I decide which shot I am going to take?" Well, in the third quarter we was able to lock down, more importantly, where we've kind of struggled in the past.

Both teams left with a familiar feeling; the Cavs looking ahead to the conference finals and the Raptors on the verge of a playoff exit at the hands of Cleveland. Their ire was heightened when a potential three-point play - an Ibaka bucket and Cavs foul - was changed to no basket and a non-shooting foul after a loud protest by James. He connected on his only 3-point attempt and grabbed 11 of his game-high 16 rebounds. James scored the next five points to push the Cleveland lead right back to 10 points. Still the Cavaliers led 24-19 at the end of a first quarter that saw Love collect six points and eight rebounds. When Toronto had it to just a four-point deficit late, they left Kyle Korver wide open for a corner three. Bam.

Lowry noted that the offence hadn't been bad at all through two games against Cleveland, and yet they were, staring at a daunting hole. Still it maintained its lead.

"Rumble young man, rumble", he said. "We're going to have to find places in this experience and learn from it". Toronto'd the East's best record, " the No. 1 seed, homecourt advantage as well as a Cleveland team that appeared very beatable.

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