The Cavaliers may have been lucky to win Game 1 on the road against the Toronto Raptors. But in Game 2, luck had nothing to do with it.
With a dominating 128-110 win, the Cavs will return to Quicken Loans Arena for Game 3 on Saturday night with a 2-0 series lead, and eight straight playoff wins over the Raptors under their belt.
LeBron James was masterful, putting up 43 points on 19-of-28 shooting, dishing out 14 assists and grabbing eight boards. It’s the fourth 40-point game he’s had in these playoffs, and the 14 assists tie a career high. This is the 16th time in his career that James has put up at least 30 points and 10 assists, the most all-time passing Michael Jordan.
It certainly helps when both of your All-Stars play like All-Stars. Kevin Love played his best basketball of the 2018 postseason, feasting inside the paint on mismatches with 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting and 11 rebounds. Coming into Thursday’s game, the most points Love put up this postseason was 19 in Game 3 against Indiana.
Together, the duo of James and Love shot 30-of-49 from the field, highlighting an extra efficient night for the Cavaliers in which they only turned the ball over three times.
As a result of the production of James and Love, the Cavaliers role players were able to get plenty of open looks on the perimeter. Also in double-digits for Cleveland were J.R. Smith (15), Jeff Green (14) and George Hill (13).
While the Cavs have struggled during third quarters throughout the postseason (and through large portions of the regular season for that matter), tonight it’s what secured them the win. They outscored Toronto 37-24, and James put up 15 points during the frame. In total, he scored or assisted on 29 of the Cavs’ 37 points.
James continued that production in the fourth quarter, and his fadeaway jumper is now wanted for international murder (or extinction if you will). He put up 12 more points, and was subbed out with 3:30 to go in the game and the Cavs up 20, 121-101.
In the first half, however, it seemed like James was feeling the Raptors out. As a result, it was Love who got into a groove in the first quarter by working in the paint and thriving on mismatches as Toronto switched most of the Cavs pick and roll sets. He shot 4-of-9 from the field in the frame, already more shots than he made in all of Game 1, for 10 points to lead the Cavs. On the flip side, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were feeling it early, combining for 19 points to give the Raptors a 29-26 lead.
The Cavs didn’t regain the lead during the second quarter, but James started to get into a groove putting up 12 points in the frame. The Cavs ended the the half on an 8-2 run. They built off that in the third quarter and started on an 8-0 run, paving the way for a James takeover in the second half.
The Cavs took the lead on a J.R. Smith and-one layup at the 11:38 mark in the third quarter and never looked back.
DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points, while Lowry was close behind with 21.
Up next: The Cavaliers return home with a commanding 2-0 series lead. Game 3 is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at The Q.