King James, Cava­liers throw first punch

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - LORI EWING

CLEVE­LAND — LeBron James, and the Cava­liers’ three-point shooting spelled an­other Game 1 loss for the Toronto Rap­tors.

James scored 35 points to lift Cleve­land to a 116-105 vic­tory over Toronto in the open­ing game of their Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Eastern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal se­ries on Mon­day.

Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 11 as­sists, while DeMar DeRozan fin­ished with 19 points. P.J. Tucker had 13 points and 11 re­bounds, Serge Ibaka chipped in 15 points, and Nor­man Pow­ell fin­ished with 12 points.

But the Rap­tors had no an­swer for the Cavs’ three-point shooting — the No. 2 team in the league in the reg­u­lar sea­son went 14 of 34 from be­yond the arc.

The loss dropped the Rap­tors to 1-12 in play­off se­ries open­ers, their lone vic­tory com­ing in the sec­ond round against Philadel­phia in 2001.

In a game of wild runs, the Rap­tors would trail by as lit­tle as two points last in the sec­ond quar­ter, and by as many as 25 late in the third. The Cava­liers led 96-74 to start the fourth quar­ter.

But the Rap­tors would come no closer than 16 points over the fi­nal 12 min­utes, and when Chan­ning Frye drove to the hoop for a dunk with two min­utes to play, it put the Cavs up by 22 points, and vic­to­ri­ous Cleve­land fans be­gan to bolt for the ex­its. Both coaches then emp­tied their benches. The Rap­tors shot 44 per cent on the night, and were 10 of 26 from three-point range. They coughed up 18 points on turnovers com­pared to just eight for the Cavs. Cleve­land also went to the free throw line nine more times than Toronto did.

Since 2015, the Cava­liers have gone 29-4 in the post-sea­son against Eastern Con­fer­ence op­po­nents, in­clud­ing 16-1 at home.

Game 2 is Wed­nes­day in Cleve­land then the se­ries shifts to Toronto for Game 3 on Fri­day and Game 4 on Sun­day.

James was 13 of 23 from the field, and grabbed 10 re­bounds, and had the crowd chuck­ling when he missed a shot then jok­ingly grabbed a beer from the court­side wait­ress.

James is the “hub of ev­ery­thing,” Rap­tors coach Dwane Casey had said pre-game. “He’s a quar­ter­back, he’s a point guard, he’s a power for­ward, he’s a small for­ward, he’s a shooting guard, he’s ev­ery­thing.

“So the way you kind of ma­noeu­vre and match around him is so im­por­tant.”

TONY DEJAK, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cleve­land Cava­liers’ LeBron James, right, drives to the bas­ket against Toronto Rap­tors’ Patrick Pat­ter­son in Game 1 of their sec­ond-round play­off se­ries.

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