LeBronto trending as Cleveland's James completes two-game Toronto takeover | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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LeBronto trending as Cleveland's James completes two-game Toronto takeover

May 03, 2018 - 8:01 PM

TORONTO - Cavaliers star LeBron James had his way with the Raptors in a memorable in-your-face Toronto takeover Thursday.

Before the last bucket in Cleveland's lopsided 128-110 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal, the hashtag LeBronto had surfaced. Soon it was trending.

One wag altered a photo of the Toronto sign at City Hall to read LeBronto. And why not. He owned the Raptors. Another creation with the LeBronto hashtag showed a miniature version of Toronto star DeMar DeRozan, clad in diapers and holding a toy dinosaur, sitting on a smiling James' shoulders.

Even ESPN got in on the joke, telling viewers they would be coming back to LeBronto as it cut to a commercial after a third quarter that saw Toronto outscored 37-24 as the Cavs shot .727 from the field.

James picked up 27 of his 43 points in the second half with the Cavaliers turning a 63-61 halftime deficit into a runaway win. He did it in spectacular fashion, dipping into his bottomless bag of tricks to torment whatever Raptor defender was put in front of him.

He toyed with Toronto, slashing through the paint, launching improbable moon balls from all angles or firing a pass to an open teammate.

James was a wrecking ball, just two days after a 26-point triple-double performance that he called "probably one of my worst games of the season." Still, he helped drag Cleveland into overtime en route to a 113-112 win in the series opener Tuesday, giving the Cavs oodles of confidence headed into Game 2.

On Thursday, James warmed up as the game wore on before hitting a second-half groove.

According to ESPN Stats he made seven fadeaway jumpers to tie Golden State sharpshooter Klay Thompson (2015) for the record in a playoff game since the data became available in 2001-02.

"That is why he is the best," said Cleveland's Kyle Korver. "What do you say? Amazing shots and amazing game."

In addition to his 43 points, James collected 14 assists and eight rebounds in 40 minutes. According to Elias Sports, it's the fourth time he's recorded at least 40 points and 10 assists in a playoff game, surpassing Michael Jordan, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson for the most in NBA post-season history.

It was also James' 16th career playoff game with 30-plus points and 10-plus assists, surpassing Jordan's post-season record.

In the two games in Toronto, James has 69 points, 19 rebounds and 27 assists and is plus-25 on the court.

James had just four points in the first quarter Thursday as the Cavaliers looked to get Kevin Love going. Love finished the quarter with 10 points, three more than his entire total in Game 1, en route to a 31-point, 11-rebound night.

Love said he knew at the morning shootaround that James was locked in when he predicted some of the improbable jump shots.

The 33-year-old James was muted in his post-game media session, sharing the kudos with his teammates. But he said that, after watching film of the Raptors, he was confident he would be able to hit those shots based on mismatches with Toronto defenders.

And rubbing salt into the Raptors wound, James credited Toronto coach Dwane Casey for forcing him to becoming a better player after the 2011 NBA final that saw the Dallas Mavericks, whose defence was orchestrated by then-Mavericks assistant coach Casey, beat James' Miami Heat in six games.

"I wasn't that good player in that series. I wasn't a complete basketball player," said James, holding the microphone in his hand as is his post-game want. "Dwane Casey drew up a game plan against me in that '11 series ... to take away things that I was very good at and to try to make me do things that I wasn't very good at.

"So he's part of the reason why I am who I am today."

With the series switching to Cleveland, things are looking bleak for top-seeded Toronto. The fourth-seeded Cavaliers, who are 18-1 all-time in playoff series when winning Game 1, have now won eight straight post-season games against the Raptors.

Cleveland coach Tyrone Lue suggested his team's momentum started with the Game 7 win last Sunday over Indiana — a statement bounce-back victory after a 34-point loss in Game 6.

"When you play a Game 7 on your home floor and you have the best player in the world, you like your chances," said Lue.

Sounds like a good combo for Games 3 and 4 in this series too.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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