Raptors aim to avoid sweep as betting underdogs vs. Cavs

Raptors aim to avoid sweep as betting underdogs vs. Cavs

This speculation just goes to show how the National Basketball Association remains a "What have you done for me lately?" league.

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons finally found some success against the Boston Celtics by scoring 19 points with 13 rebounds and five assists in a 103-92 game-four win. His Game 2 performance, in particular, was simply stunning.

One senses the Raptors have no answers.

'It was extremely hard, extremely hard, ' DeRozan said of being benched by coach Dwane Casey in the fourth. "He makes them all the time". We're not giving in, we're not quitting. Even the occasional reader of this space knows most of the ups and downs, the roster tumult, coach Tyronn Lue's illness, the bad defense, the near first-round disaster against Indiana.We told you in January that numerous veterans felt the Cavs didn't have enough talent to win a championship.

There was a bounce-back but no happy ending. From getting outscored by 40 points in seven games against in, the Cavs outscored Toronto by 56 in the series.

By that stage in the game, the damage had already been done by a Cavs side up 3-0 and determined to finish off the series in style. "Things just don't seem to go right for us", DeRozan said, adding that the James-inspired Cavs were anything but a one-man band. "But you choose to be a warrior, you choose to continue to fight". "We weren't that same special group that we were during the regular season". Instead it has found different ways to lose.

However, to say the 2018 All-Star Game head coach should be fired at this point, makes little sense. And the result of this bit of tactical genius would limit the damage done from James's supporting cast, which came into the series looking faded and inadequate.

A year ago in a regular season game in Washington, trailing by three with 3.4 seconds left, James caught a full-court pass from Love, and had the awareness to take one dribble, step behind the 3-point line, and hit a fadeaway three to send the game into overtime. DeRozan was reduced to a spectator.

Casey chose not to show his players film of Game 3 on Sunday. "He practices that one all the time". But there's been a palpable feeling that change is afoot since the Raptors fell to 0-2 in the series. "We've got to get back to reality, come tomorrow, work our butt off this summer and get ready for the next stage".

"I've been with Casey seven years". Going into the series, it was a foregone conclusion that James would dominate. James' hometown may be listed as Akron, Ohio, but Toronto, 1 Ontario, Canada may as well be listed as a place that No. 23 owns as well. Over that span his teams have beaten the Raptors three straight times, sure.

Ibaka stands hands on hip, with a look of near resignation. "But you don't want to go down that way, let go of the rope".

James has been nothing but classy off the floor.

James, Love, and Hill did their thing, but Kyle Korver and JR Smith also played well offensively, leading to all five starters notching at least 12 points in the game.

So clinical and Picasso-like master pieces were his quiet disposition that in most of yesterday's fourth quarter minutes, when Cleveland was building 20-plus leads, Cleveland Coach Ty Lue found the luxury to rest his majesty, King James.

Meanwhile, Lowry expressed his disappointment not through words but by refusing to speak, and hiding his face during the entire post-game press conference.

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