In a series that has seen each team deliver haymakers to their opponents the Cavs may have landed a knockout blow in game five in Cleveland. In response to losing both games in Toronto, the Cavaliers absolutely demolished the Raptors 116-78 tonight at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavaliers looked sharp from the opening tip and got both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving engaged early. It was clear that both of the Cavaliers stars had brought their A game after a disappointing trip north of the border. Love repeatedly took advantage of being defended by Luis Scola and scored inside and out while playing locked in defense. Kyrie Irving fought through screens with gusto and also brought his usual offensive arsenal to the Q. By the end of the first quarter, the Cavs were up 18 and looked to be cruising to a 3-2 series lead.
Tyronn Lue inserted his trusty lineup of the bench unit plus LeBron to open the second and the gap widened. By halftime the Cavs had amassed a 31 point lead, the largest halftime lead in NBA conference finals history.
Things did not change after half time. The Cavaliers continued to outplay the Raptors in every meaningful way to close the third with a 100-60 lead and the game was effectively over.
The Cavaliers will now look to go, in Drake's words, back to back and close out the series with a win in Toronto on Friday. If Love and Irving bring the intensity that they brought tonight, the Cavs will have to bring the Eastern Conference championship trophy with them through customs when they return home.