Cavaliers vs Raptors Eastern Conference Finals 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors Eastern Conference Finals 2016

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Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors Eastern Conference Finals 2016
GAME SUMMARY
Game 1: CLE 115 TOR 84
Game 2: CLE 108 TOR 89
Game 3: TOR 99 CLE 84
Game 4: TOR 105 CLE 99
Game 5: CLE 116 TOR 78
Game 6: CLE 113 TOR 87
GAME 6 played on May 27, 2016, CAVS wins the series 4-2 on the score of 113 (CAVS) – 87 (TOR)
Game 6 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Lebron James is going to his six straight NBA Finals by closing out the series against the Toronto Raptors with a 26-point margin.

The Cavaliers who have not done well at the Canada Air Centre and was 0-4 this season was able to get their first win at the Raptors home court while closing the series and securing a return trip to the Finals for the Cavaliers. James had a monster game of 33 points, and Kevin Love who was missing in two games here was able to contribute 20 points and 12 rebounds.

The Cavaliers have a chance of ending Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought,  which is the longest drought of any city which has at least three professional sports teams. The last time a professional sports team won in Cleveland was in 1964 when the Browns won againts Baltimore 27-0 to win the NFL championship.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says — “This city has been craving a championship. We have the right team and we have the right talent.”

James grew up in Akron, a place near Cleveland and knows how this city has longed for a Championship win.

James has this to say — “I know our city deserves it, our fans deserve it. But that gives us no sense of entitlement. We’ve still got to go out and get it. We’ve still got to go out and prove ourselves.”

The Cavaliers came with a winning mentality on a road game as they refused to go back for a Game 7. Kyrie Irving added 30 points to face-off either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Golden State Warriors.

The Cleveland Cavaliers would probably prefer a Finals against the Thunder where they hold home-court advantage compared to the Warriors team that seems invincible having won 73-wins in the regular season. However, the Warriors are having a tough time against the Oklahoma City Thunder and are surprisingly trailing the series 3-2.

Irving is not happy winning the Eastern Conference Finals 2016 — “We’re still not satisfied at all. There’s still a goal at hand that we have to accomplish and I know these guys are going to be ready for it.”

This is the third time the Cavaliers have reached the NBA Finals all of which was led by Lebron James; these were in 2015 against the Warriors and 2007 against the Spurs.

James added 11 rebounds and six assists on top of the 33 points.

Lue says — “We needed LeBron to set the tone for us early and I thought he did that. He’s just a great player. He’s a proven winner. He’s always won over the course of his career. To go to six straight finals is unbelievable.”

Despite the loss the Toronto Raptors have a lot of reason to celebrate as this is the first time they have reached the conference finals in 21 years. They also had a franchise record in the regular season by winning 56 games.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey has this to say — “a tremendous learning experience, a step ahead” of being a championship contender. He adds — “We’re learning. We’re not where (the Cavaliers) are right now. We’re going to be.”

Lowry however doesn’t see the positives of the Raptors historic season and says a lot of how far he wants his team to go — “Of course you’re going to look back at some point but right now I’m disappointed. Simple as that, I’m disappointed.”

The Eastern Conference Finals is now concluded with Lebron James leading his team to the Finals.

Game 6 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Raptors play well at home and hopefully they can extend the series and go back to Cleveland for a Game 7.

The Cavaliers need to match the physical game of Raptors Biyombo, shoot the ball better and contain the Raptors all-stars who are having great games at home.

LeBron James however after their 38-point win in Cleveland is still a better team on the road and can clinch the win for their second straight NBA Finals appearance.

Kevin Love was the key missing player for the Cavaliers when they lost two games but was able to get back with 25 points in Game 5.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for their first win in the Raptors arena as they are 0-4 this season at Air Canada Centre. As for the Raptors they cannot be too confident but needs to remain aware that the Cavaliers will do everything to close out the series.

Raptors guard has this to say — “We’ve got to play the same way we played the two home games we’ve had so far. That’s all we can do. Can’t worry about the road. We might not get a chance to go back on the road if we don’t play the right way tomorrow.”

Lowry has this to say about the way Lebron and Cavs routed them in Game 5 — “They’re drastically bad when you’ve got LeBron coming at you”.

Raptors DeMar DeRozan sounds confident in their chances despite being down in the series — “I don’t know why we get so comfortable once we put ourselves in a tougher situation. We’ve been doing it all year and we always bounce back. I think we just thrive off adversity.”

Tyron Lue thinks of this game as Game 7 wherein they will come out and close it — “We want to come in with the approach that this is our Game 7. We’ve worked hard all season to get to this point, and we want to treat this next game as our Game 7.”

Irving has learned how tough road games can be in Toronto as he notes — “probably my first legitimate two road games that I’ve experienced in my playoff career. Our communication, everything had to be a lot sharper. We took a lot that we had to learn from that game, including myself. Going into Game 6, I feel a little bit more prepared than I was going into Game 3 and 4 of knowing what to expect, what it’s going to be like.”

GAME 5 played on May 25, 2016, CAVS wins leads the series 3-2 on the score of 116 (CAVS) – 78 (TOR)
Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

The Cleveland Cavaliers flexed their muscles reminding the Raptors who is dominating in the playoffs as they destroyed the Raptors on a 38-point margin led by LeBron James scoring 23 points, Kevin Love added 25.

The Cavs came out on fire as they built a 34-point lead in the first half and had a high 43-point lead in the second half.

The Cavaliers who play very well at home and the Raptors who is playing below average on the road in the playoffs with a 2-6 record made this game into a “no-contest” game.

James has this to say — “We gotta come out from the beginning and that starts with the Big 3. We’ll be much better.”

Raptors coach says — “They kicked our butts, bottom line. That’s been all three ballgames.”

James worked only through three quarters as the Cavs were already leading by as much as 37 points added eight assists and six rebounds.

When the Cavaliers are on fire against the Raptors they bring it on having won by a combined 88 points in their last three games.

Raptors coach knows the Cavaliers play differently at their homecourt — “They are a different team here. We came in here with a chance to do something special and we didn’t get it done. They pushed us around and took what they wanted.”

The Cavaliers would not be looking to close out the series on the road for Game 6.

Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

Cleveland Cavaliers now have a series on their hands and what looked like an easy sweep has turned into an even series with a pivotal Game 5 at home.

Coach Tyronn Lue has this to say — “They flipped the script on us”.

The Cavaliers looked invincible in the series after they have won the first 2 games on a combined 50 point margin. The Raptors bounced back at home with two wins and has turned this into a best of 3 series.

The Cavs were not able to limit Toronto All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan from offensively hurting them as well as Bismack Biyombo who is guarding the boards with monster like performances of 40 rebounds in the last two games.

Kevin Love could have played the boards with force but is missing in the series and the only way for the Cavs to remain in the game is to stay small. With a small lineup they need to shoot the ball better as they won’t have the rebounding ability that the Raptors have anchored on Bismack.

Lue has this to say about Love — “We talked about it before the game and the night before how his body felt and wanting to play more minutes because we knew it was a big game for us, but it didn’t work out”.

Lue on Lebron — “LeBron knows when he has to take over a basketball game, but also knows he has to trust his teammates. He’s just missed shots. That’s part of the game,” Lue said. “He’s been playing great all playoffs and at some point you’re going to miss some shots, but that’s not our main concern, we gotta be better defensively and we’re going to make shots.”

GAME 4 played on May 23, 2016, TOR wins ties the series 2-2 on the score of 105 (TOR) – 99 (CAVS)
Game 4 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

The Toronto Raptors remained true to their claim particularly Lowry who said they are confident at home and would be able to play a lot better than they did at the Cavs homecourt as they were able to tie the series 2-2 with the score of 105-99.

All-star Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with a score of 35 points, and key plays in the final minute. Fellow all-star DeMar DeRozan added 32 points to bring the series to an even score in the Eastern Conference Finals 2016.

Biyombo who pulled down 26 rebounds in Game 3 still had a stellar game with 14 rebounds but was unable to pull more boards as the Cavs shot a lot better than last game.

DeRozan has this to say — “We’ve been counted out, and we like that challenge”.

Lowry comments — “We have to continue to make sure that when they punch, we punch back. And if they punch three times, we punch four times.”

The Cavaliers who had a 10 consecutive winning streak in the playoffs have not lost two in a row and are hoping to get back to their homecourt and turn things around.

The good news for the Cavs is that the Raptors play poor on the road especially int he playoffs with a record of 2-6.

Lebron has this to say — “Going back home we have to play a lot better and I think we will”.

Coach Tyron Lue of the Cavs — “We had a few defensive breakdowns that you can’t have down the stretch of a game, especially in the playoffs. They executed every time we made a mistake.”

James put in 29 points, Kyrie Irving had 26 for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Channing Frye added 12 points.

Lowry and DeRozan carried the Raptors in the 4th quarter as they scored 9 and 12 respectively on 5-6 shots.

The Raptors are riding high on their win but needs to figure out a way to win on the road. For now, they should have breathing room in the series.

Game 4 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Toronto Raptors has said they feel comfortable and confident at home and having won Game 3 they are looking to equalize the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers will have to neutralize Biyombo who pulled down 26 huge rebounds that is enough to get any team in trouble.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey says Biyombo is a “nightmare” and “nuisance” to play against.

Biyombo has this to say — “Until you really get to know the real side of me, then you know who I am,” he said. “But on the floor I don’t have friends.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers need to get their shooting percentage up to limit the ability of the Raptors to gain momentum on rebounds. This is an important game for the Cavs though not really critical. At worst, the Raptors can tie the series while the Cavs has a chance to bounce back at home.

For the Raptors this is a must-win game as they do not want to get buried with a 3-1 deficit that would make it very difficult to bounce back up.

Cavs coach has this to say about Biyombo — “If you don’t foul him hard, he’s going to get an and-one and a three-point play. You’ve got to try to be physical with him so he can’t take the contact and finish at the rim. When you get around the neck, like Biyombo did last night, that’s different. But when teams hard-foul, you’re supposed to get hard-fouled when you’re going to the basket, especially being that strong and that powerful.”

James didn’t get a lot to the foul line and has this comment about it — “I really don’t get involved in it too much. I just play the game and let the referees decide what the call may be and move on. I can’t have my focus go somewhere else. That allows my energy to be somewhere it shouldn’t be.”

GAME 3 played on May 21, 2016, TOR wins trails the series 2-1 on the score of 99 (TOR) – 84 (CAVS)
Game 3 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Cleveland is no longer gonna be able to make history of consecutive playoff wins as the Toronto Raptors played very well at home.

The Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan with his 32 points, and Bismack Biyombo had 26 rebounds for a Toronto playoff record. The Raptors have closed the series gap 2-1 by beating Cleveland 99-84 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals 2016.

Kyle Lowry who said they have no reason not to be confident going into the game despite losing the first two games scored 20 points, and Cory Joseph added 14.

What looked like a losing cause when the Cavaliers won the first two games with a combined 50 points, the Raptors came back with a win.

Raptors coach has this to say — “It’s a long series. It’s not over with yet, but everybody thought we were going to get swept. I think that fuels us and if that’s what it takes, so be it.”

LeBron James scored 24 points for the Cavaliers and was disappointed how they played the game — “We didn’t play our game and they made us pay for it. We didn’t start the game as physical as we should have at the point of attack.”

Raptors DeRozan has this to say — “It was amazing, honestly. He was big time tonight. Without him, we probably would’t get this win.”

Kyrie Irving just added 13 points, and Channing Frye 11 points for Cleveland. This marks the first time the Cavs scored below 100 points.

Cleveland coach has this to say — “They came out and they beat us. They were more aggressive. They were more physical. They were more active. They were faster. They beat us to the ball.”

The missing performance for the Cavaliers is Kevin Love who just scored three points on 1-9 field goal attempts.

For a moment there was a scare when Irving checked out at the 1:38 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter on a collision with Joseph.

Irving has this to say — “I just got the wind knocked out of me”.

The Toronto Raptors are far from trouble but somehow they were able to get a win at home and can even the series in Game 4.

Game 3 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Toronto Raptors are relying heavily on their All-Star guard Lowry to step up unless he wants his team to get swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lowry shot a measly 8 of 28 and going 1 of 15 from long range, in Games 1 and 2. The Cavaliers coasted and burying the Raptors with lots of points in the first two games. The Cavaliers are also going for their 10th straight victory in the playoffs, the record now stands at 12 set by the Spurs in 1999.

The Raptors star feel they will fare better at home — “I think we’ll be better at home. We’re supposed to be better at home. We’re down 2-0 but we haven’t played on our home floor yet.”

The Toronto Raptors looked very good in the playoffs with a home record of 6-2 and were 32-9 in the regular season.

Fellow Raptors star DeMar DeRozan says this — “We’ve got to go out tomorrow night and hold down our fort.”

Raptors coach has this to say — “It’s always important to have your top player but, again, we’ve been here before. There’s nights he has hasn’t played well.”

Lowry is the poster boy of inconsistency among the all-stars as he can score a lot of points on a series of consecutive games like when he tallied 96 in three games against the Miami but has a lot of games where he shot poorly below .300.

Lowry says that Clevland has done a good job defending him — “They’ve done a good job of collapsing and getting the ball out of my hands. I’m making the right passes, we just haven’t made shots. I think we’ll make shots tomorrow. It looks a lot different when we make shots. Assists go up and turnovers go down.”

He adds — “We have no reason not to be confident. We have to be. We got here for a reason. It wasn’t by luck. We had to beat two teams, we had to play a regular season. We got here for a reason.”

The Toronto Raptors need to take advantage of the home game and close the gap otherwise Cleveland can bury them 3-0 and would be setup for a sweep.

GAME 2 played on May 19, 2016, CLE wins leads the series 2-0 on the score of 108 (CLE) – 89 (TOR)
Game 2 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Cleveland Cavaliers is making a run on history by winning their 10th straight post season game to remain perfect in the win column. They are silently building this historic run which is somehow been sidelined in the media since all eyes are on the Golden State Warriors, the injury of Stephen Curry, and anything and everything about the Warriors.

LeBron James remain focused as he recorded a triple-double as the Cavs improved to 10-0 in the playoffs on a 108-89 victory against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals 2016. The King scored 23 points, 11 rebounds and added 11 assists to help make the Cavs the 4th team to start 10-0 in the playoffs. The previous three teams were the Los Angeles Lakers (1989, 2001) and San Antonio Spurs (2012). The Cleveland Cavaliers have a real shot in going back to the NBA finals but might still be a level behind winning it all the way against a balanced outstanding Golden State Warriors.

The other superstarts of the Cavs Kyrie Irving added 26 points and Kevin Love chipping 19 for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lebron has this to say on their 10-0 run — “I don’t think it feels like a streak. It feels like we won one game, we won the next game. We’ve taken one step at a time. We’ve tried to take care of business.”

The Raptors are in trouble having lost by a huge 31-point margin in Game 1, followed by 19 points in Game 2.

Cleveland is a complete team at both ends of the floor as Lebron chimes — “We play offense, we play defense and we’re great at special teams as well,”.

Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals 2016 is Saturday in Toronto and hopefully they get to play better on their home court. Raptors superstar Lowry hot a horrible game on 8 of 28 from the field and scoring only 10 points, he also shot miserably from beyond the arc on 1 of 15. Lowry tries to remain confident — “I’m super confident. I missed countless 3s that I thought were good and that I made last series. That’s why I’m not down on myself. We’ve got a game on Saturday, and I know I’m going to be much more effective. Simple as that.” Fellow superstar DeMar DeRozan fared better scoring 22 points for the Raptors.

Raptors coach has this to say — “We’re not quitting. Everybody can bury us, but we’re not quitting. I refuse to believe that.”

James became the fourth on all-time career postseason scoring list moving past Shaquille O’Neal, and also recorded his 15th playoff triple-double.

Does all this winning help them in their Championship run? James doesn’t think so — “We don’t want to lose”. Cavaliers coach rookie Tyronn Lue who just started last January to replace David Blatt now has a 10-0 playoff record though he admit “It’s not easy,”.

Game 2 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Cleveland Cavaliers now have a 9-0 playoff record and they are on track to win their 10th playoff game and become only the fourth time this has happened in the league — Los Angeles Lakers (1989, 2001) and San Antonio Spurs (2012).

Cleveland had an easy victory against Toronto 115-84 on Tuesday and are now heavily favored to quickly reach the NBA Finals 2016.

James is on fire in Game 1 as he made his first nine shots towards a 31-point win against the Raptors. The last time a team, Spurs, went on a 10-0 record they didn’t win the Championship but Lebron has this in mind — “I think don’t think we have complacency in our minds. We have a goal and our goal is not nine wins. I’ve won nine games before. I’ve won 14 games before. We will face some adversity.”

The Cavaliers pounded from close range for a 56-36 edge in points in the paint and stunned a Raptors team without injured center Jonas Valanciunas, doubtful for this game. Cleveland also hustled better on a 45-23 rebounding lead.

Toronto Raptors has built character in the first two playoff games that carried them up to seven games against Indiana and Miami but with a single day to perform they looked unprepared against the Cavaliers in Game 1.

Raptors coach says — “I thought they were the fresher team, the quicker team tonight. Again, that’s to their credit, and again, it’s one game. This series is not over by any means.” He also adds — “We’ve got to make sure we force the issue, force the contact, if we’re not, and make sure we get to the free-throw line.”

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Lebron want to elevate their game — “I think for us, we want to push the tempo. We want to move the ball from side to side, and we want to attack. With myself and Ky, we love to live in the paint.”

Coach Tyronn Lue says “We understand who we are as a team, I think defensively and offensively we understand who we are, who we want to play through, who we want to go through, and it’s been easier for the guys.”

GAME 1 played on May 17, 2016, CAVS wins takes 1-0 lead on the score of 115 (CAVS) – 84 (TOR)
Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Lebron James led the Cavaliers to an easy 31-point win against Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals 2016 against the Toronto Raptors which is the franchise’s postseason history record for margins.

LeBron James scored 24 points in three quarters, while fellow superstar Kyrie Irving scored 27 to take the Eastern Conference lead 1-0. James started on fire by hitting all first 9 shots in the game and shooting 67 percent from the field in the first half.

The Cavaliers now improved to a 9-0 playoff start led by Lebron James who started the game very hot by making his first nine shots together with a powerful dunk. The city of Cavaliers has a 52-year championship drought and the Cavs are closing in to ending this drought.

Lebron is focused on winning it all as he says — “I think don’t think we have complacency in our minds. We have a goal and our goal is not nine wins. I’ve won nine games before. I’ve won 14 games before. We will face some adversity.”

With the 31-point winning margin, the Cavs are looking very good at full capacity as last year they didn’t have Love and Irving. The lopsided win allowed Lebron James to rest on the final quarter as he finished scoring 11 of 13, six rebounds and four assists in just 28 minutes of gameplay.

James has this to say of his teammates — “They waited a full regular season to get back to this moment. They trained their bodies all season long to get back to this point and those guys have been spectacular.”

Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

It has been 9 years back in 2007 when Lebron James helped the Cavaliers reach the Eastern Conference finals, it was the first one for the King. Lebron then followed up with five straight Finals appearances and are hoping to make it his sixth with the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers have coasted to the Eastern Conference Finals 2016 while the Raptors team had to win 2 game 7. Even with all the rest period for the Cavs, Lebron has this to say around it — “It’s not an advantage. They’re here for a reason. You got to go out and play. They also played two seven-game series and we didn’t. So they can have the upper edge on that. So, there’s no advantage to either team. Both teams are 0-0 and it’s the first to four.”

The key items we need to understand here is that the current team of Lebron James doesn’t have the experience of going past 4 games in the postseason. When they eventually lose and have to fight in the series the Cavaliers might or might not respond. In the postseason Lebron has averaged 23.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists. Among all the superstars he is the one with the most experience as such would be leading this team should the series get stretched out.

Lowry, scored 35 points in their clinching game over Miami and has taken a stab at Lebron James — “LeBron’s probably one of the best players in the league – besides Steph (Curry).” For the Cavaliers Lebron is the best player in the world and James even questioned the meaning of an MVP award.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey came to his guard’s defense, saying on a conference call that Lowry’s comments were overblown and that “There’s nothing but respect in our locker room and our organization for LeBron James.”

The Raptors will be without center Jonas Valanciunas in Game 1 and maybe for the entire series. The 7-footer is still recovering from a sprained right ankle sustained in Game 3 against the Heat, and his loss damages Toronto’s depth and rebounding.

The injury gave backup Bismack Biyombo more playing time and the Congolese player has delivered.

The 23-year-old scored 17 points with 16 rebounds and two monster dunks in Game 7 against Miami. The Cavs know they’ll need to account for him.

“He’s the kind of guy that’s a spark for their team,” Love said. “He runs the floor, cleans the glass on both ends and he’s really been the X-factor for them that got them over the hump.”

While being without Valanciunas could pose problems inside for the Raptors, the Cavaliers have caused plenty from the outside. The Cavs made 77 3-pointers in their sweep over the Hawks, dropping an NBA record 25 in Game 2. Atlanta chose to protect the paint with defenders and paid for it.

Casey said stopping Cleveland’s outside game is crucial.

“That’s going to be the issue,” he said. “They’re such a great transition team, such a great penetrate, pick-and-roll team that you try to stop everything and you don’t stop anything. We have to pick our poison. They’re very lethal.”

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