Cleveland Cavaliers have frustrated DeMar DeRozan, taken him out of series
May 06 2018 by Dustin Murphy
For a brief moment Saturday night, thanks to a late three-pointer by rookie OG Anunoby, the Raptors got one hand out of the playoff hole they had dug themselves.
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after hitting the game winning shot to beat the Toronto Raptors 105-103 in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 5, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio.
That's because the Cavs took DeRozan, the Raptors' leading scorer and franchise player, out of the series - before his coach did the same in Game 3. The pause that followed was the highlight of this series from a Raptors perspective. I've been doing that since I was six, seven, eight years old. Round 2 has been a different story so far however, as the team shot 32% from beyond the arc in Game 1 and 40% in Game 2. The same building where the Cavaliers came back to beat the Raptors in March despite Toronto's 79-point first half, and where they beat them again in April, and where they have simply destroyed Toronto in the playoffs, again and again.
So the level of difficulty of that shot, it is very hard. DeRozan, despondent at not being able to do more or help when it mattered most, went just 3 of 12 from the field and scored eight points. It tips off Monday night in Cleveland. "Don't try it at home!" "But I get coaches have said that for years, but two points is not two points".
Of the decision to take the ball the length of the court, Lue said: "We knew if he was coming full speed no one could stop him".
Never mind the fact he ran roughshod over the league in his freshman campaign, averaging 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game during the regular season. If you double-team him, it opens up shots for the other guys.
The Cleveland has previously taken a 2-0 lead in a series 21 times and has gone on to win all of them, while Toronto is still to win a series after going behind 0-2.
Yes, even Ric Flair is taking shots. Part of Toronto's success in the first round was their ability to make three-pointers.
They said they needed to find themselves.
LeBron's last two assists in Game 1 was expanded to 16 after Cleveland's 128-110 rout of Toronto in Game 2 behind the King's career-high tying 14 assists on top of his 43 points and 8 rebounds.
The Cavs believed DeRozan was going to be aggressive going into Game 3. In his 15th season, with already one of the most impressive resumes in league history, James continues to add to his mythology.