Culture of Hoops

LeBron James Has Somehow Found Another Gear As Cavs Win Tenth Straight Playoff Game

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time. You got that? Get used to saying that. I know it sounds blasphemous that that sentence didn’t begin with the name Michael Jordan, but times change. This current postseason run has proven that LeBron’s potential is truly limitless.

What else can possibly explain this savagery?

And one more just for good measure.

Folks, LeBron James is in his bag.

Game 3 was the last chance for the Raptors. They don’t have the firepower to take down LeBron let alone the rest of the Cavs. Kyle Lowry missed the big game with an ankle sprain. His backcourt buddy DeMar DeRozan did an admirable job picking up the slack, going off for 36 points through three quarters. He scored one more point for the game and the Raptors saw a 79-77 deficit burst into a 115-94 laugher.

This game felt tied most of the game. DeRozan did anything he pleased to the combination of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. The Cavs countered DeRozan’s explosion with three-point attack supplied by seamless passing.

Kyle Korver was on his American Sniper shit, going 4-for-6 from three and 5-for-7 overall for 14 points in 21 minutes. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love did their jobs too, adding 16 points a piece.

Heading into the fourth they had taken a two-point lead despite DeRozan having 36. With no Lowry DeRozan’s 36 was the whole reason the Raptors were even alive. Jonas Valanciunas was stellar from the field once again (80-percent from the floor), but only added 19 points. Serge Ibaka added a quiet 12, and as a team the Raptors shot an anemic 11.1-percent from three.

When Dwane Casey tried to give DeRozan some rest at the start of the fourth LeBron took the window of opportunity and began his kill shot. The Cavs won the fourth 37-16 with LeBron completely controlling the flow. Flanked by the second unit and Tristan Thompson, LeBron did what he pleased.

He hit yet another three in Ibaka’s grill. He even hit Fred Van Vleet with a spin into a lefty shot. This is Larry Legend-level disrespect.

After that play the feeling was that this game was over. LeBron finished with 35 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal. He has 240 points through seven games, the highest mark since Kobe Bryant in 2008.

He is the first player in league history to have at least 240 points, 60 rebounds and 50 assists through seven games. The Cavs are also on a ten-game winning streak dating back to Game 5 of last year’s NBA Finals.

Game 4 could be the last stand for this Raptors core. Lowry is a free agent once the season is over. Casey very well be fired especially if the Cavs complete the sweep Sunday. This was supposed to be the team that stopped LeBron. P.J. Tucker and Ibaka have not been enough. Lowry and DeRozan are not enough. And this is not a reflection of any of these players.

It’s because of LeBron. The East is simply on lockdown until LeBron is taken down. The best contender to take on that mammoth task is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis will not be ready for at least two more years. Can the Raptors wait that out with this core? That’s something Raptors GM Masai Ujiri will have to ask himself as his season ends short of the finals once again.

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