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Cavs Notes

Ingraham: Cavs simply own the Raptors

  • Cavaliers-Raptors-Basketball-5

    Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) reacts after missing a shot late in the second half as Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) holds the ball during Game 1 of an NBA playoffs Eastern Conference semifinal, Tuesday in Toronto.

    NATHAN DENETTE / CANADIAN PRESS VIA AP

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Ownage is ownage, and the Cavs own the deed to the soul of the Toronto Raptors.

Still.

In case there was any doubt, the Cavs, playing on short notice, on short rest, but with full ownage, dropped another “Who’s your Daddy?” Canadian clubbing on the ruptured Raptors in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.

It only took the

No. 4-seeded Cavs four quarters and one overtime to wrestle the home court advantage away from No. 1 seed Toronto, while planting still more seeds of doubt in the hearts and minds of the insecure dinosaurs.

The Cavs’ socks were still wet from their thrilling

Game 7 win over Indiana on Sunday at The Q. Forty-eight hours later, they were tramping into the Raptors’ gym to administer another dose of Daddyfication.

The Cavs didn’t even play particularly well.

Through three quarters, Kevin Love only had two points. For the game overall, he missed 10 of his 13 field goal attempts. LeBron James missed 18 of his 30 field goal attempts, seven of his eight 3-point attempts and five of his six free throws.

LeBron missed 12 of his 15 shots in the second half, eight of his 11 shots in the fourth quarter and didn’t score any points at all in overtime. He was 0-for-4 in the OT.

He looked like a player still trying to recover from carrying his team to victory in the previous series.

He was LeBron Lite.

But the Cavs still beat the Raptors.

Again.

Here are the Cavs’ records versus the Raptors over the last three years: In the playoffs: 9-2 (.818). In the regular season: 6-3 (.667). Overall: 15-5 (.750).

Ownage is ownage.

And here’s what both teams know going into Game 2: In Game 1, the Raptors had three days of rest and were playing at home. The Cavs had 48 hours of rest and were playing on the road. The Cavs’ two all-stars were horrible by their standards, yet the Cavs still won.

And all of a sudden, a fourth consecutive Eastern Conference title, and a fourth consecutive trip to The Finals seems doable. It doesn’t seem nearly as implausible as it did after the Cavs absorbed that 34-point Pacers pasting in Game 6 of their first-round series.

All of a sudden, the Cavs look alive, hungry, relevant and a threat again.

Think about this: In the Indiana series the Cavs had no chance of winning any given game unless LeBron went nuclear and played like a combination of himself and Michael Jordan. Forty-eight minutes of full beast mode.

In Game 1 against Toronto, LeBron, clearly worn down and not fully recovered from the exhausting Indiana series, had his worst playoff game in forever — but the Cavs still won. The repercussions and implications of that, going forward, are ominous for the Raptors and delicious for the Cavs.

What are the odds of LeBron having two bad games in a row, or two bad games in this series? The Raptors have already missed their chance to beat the Cavs with LeBron playing like Donyell Marshall. Now they’ve got to try doing it with LeBron being LeBron.

Good luck with that. Especially with Tristan Thompson having been rescued from the crypt of crumbling careers and unleashed in all his fury on these playoffs.

What great strategy by Ty Lue, huh? Letting the big fella marinate for most of the season as a forgotten back-burner specialty dish, waiting for exactly the right moment to serve him up as a playoff dose of double dumplings.

Brilliant!

After residing in the Hotel DNP for three of the first six games of the Indiana series, Thompson started Game 7 versus the Pacers and played significant minutes in Game 1 versus the Raptors, and the Cavs immediately looked and played like a different team.

An engaged team. An energized team. A team suddenly worthy of being taken seriously again as one capable of crashing the Finals for either a fourth consecutive date with the mighty Warriors Monolith, or with James Harden and the Hardenaires.

In the Cavs’ last two playoff games, The Thompsonator, in an average of 30 minutes per game, shot 71 percent from the field, 90 percent from the free throw line and averaged 14.5 points and 11 rebounds per game.

It’s like the Cavs suddenly made a trade for exactly the type of player they need to help them chop through the playoff jungle. Meet the new guy. Same as the old guy.

It’s playoff time and Tristan Thompson is rested and ready.

Enjoy.

The importance of Thompson’s emergence cannot be understated, nor that of LeBron’s supporting cast that is finally SUPPORTING.

J.R. Smith has returned to planet Earth and is his old gun-slinging self. Kyle Karver is once again korving up opposing defenses with his 3-point missiles.

Life is good again.

It’s the playoffs. It’s Cavs-Raptors.

Where ownage is ownage.
Contact Jim Ingraham at 329-7135 or jingraham4@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jim_Ingraham


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