Cavaliers win opener of semifinal National Basketball Association playoff series against Toronto

May 03, 2017, 00:07

In so many ways, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors have been here before.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors in game one of the NBA Playoffs second round in Cleveland, Ohio May 1,2017 - USA TODAY Sports/Reuters picWASHINGTON, May 2 - LeBron James sparked defending NBA champion Cleveland over Toronto while James Harden powered the Houston Rockets to an epic rout of San Antonio in second-round playoff openers yesterday.

Toronto is notoriously shaky in the opening games of their playoff series, so they should bounce back.

Signs seem to be pointing toward more of the same.

The Cavs look to keep the momentum going on Wednesday, May 3, while Toronto will look to finally win a road playoff game in Cleveland.

That 2016 series ended 4-2 in the Cavs' favor, and Cleveland went on to win the first championship in franchise history.

Monday night saw the start of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and James and the Cavaliers were taking on DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors in the first game of the doubleheader.

Having reached the NBA Finals in six straight years, LeBron James has defeated each of his last 19 Eastern Conference playoff opponents. While we're at it, at least he didn't play the game wearing sunglasses.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey was asked after the game if he felt like the Cavs were "disrespecting" his team.

During Cleveland's Game 1 victory over the Raptors last night, Jones entered the game in garbage time, threw down a dunk with 18.7 seconds remaining, got into an argument with Norman Powell, received two technical fouls and got ejected from the game.

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"In the playoffs, it's a lot better because you've got one assignment, you know exactly what you're doing for seven games and what you want to take away", Lue said.

Do you think Toronto Raptors have a legit chance of winning against the Cleveland Cavaliers?

J.R. Smith vs. DeMar DeRozan is the matchup of the series: Smith will be the main defender on the Raptors' best scorer.

Tristan Thompson delivered 11 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland.

Tucker is a wing defender brought on to help defend James. "It didn't matter", James said after the game.

In February, less than a year removed from playing in the least competitive six-game series you'll ever see in the National Basketball Association playoffs, the Toronto Raptors decided enough was enough.

The Cavs face more questions due to their poor defensive performance throughout the regular season that, for the most part, carried into the first round against the Pacers. At one point, the Cavaliers had 20 assists on 27 field goals and finished the game with 26 assists on 39 makes. The Raptors racked up some points in the fourth, but when the game was being decided, the Raptors only shot 43.3 percent through three quarters, with only eight free throw attempts.

All is not lost for the champs now, not by a long shot. They'd played nearly every second night for a grueling 26 nights straight.

A focal point of Indiana's defense in the first round, Korver was 0-for-3 on 3-pointers over the first two games of that series but went 5-for-10 from deep in the final two games of Cleveland's sweep. We didn't play to our game.

We all know about Cleveland.

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