LeBron James hits game-winner at buzzer to give Cleveland Cavaliers 3-0 series lead over Toronto Raptors
Talisman hits a running floater off the glass as time expires to give the Cavs the victory
The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James, and the Toronto Raptors do not.
Distilled to its essence, that’s the difference in the NBA Eastern Conference semi-final series between the two teams.
No coach in the East knows that better than Toronto’s Dwane Casey, who lost to the Cavs in the 2016 conference finals, the 2017 conference semi-finals, and is down 3-0 this time around after losing 105-103 on Saturday night.
James hit a running floater off the glass as time expired to give the Cavs the victory. It was James’ second game-winning shot at the buzzer of these play-offs. His three-pointer against Indiana in game five gave Cleveland a 3-2 series lead.
James had 38 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals, leading the Cavs to their ninth consecutive play-off victory over the Raptors.
“It reminds me of back in the days of having to get over the hurdle of (Michael) Jordan,” Casey said before game three. “At some point, you’ve got to get over that hurdle, you’ve got to knock it down, you’ve got to knock the wall down.
“It’s a similar situation we are with Cleveland. I always go back to how many years is this with LeBron going to the (NBA) Finals, eight? So, there’s lot of other teams that have gone through this gauntlet and we’ve got to go through it and that’s what we’re trying to do and going to do.”
Casey and his Raptors are on the verge of being swept after earning the top seed in the East with a franchise-record 59 victories. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a play-off series.
In the series, James is averaging 35.7 points, 11.3 assists and 8.3 rebounds and shooting 53.6 per cent from the field.
He has scored at least 30 points in 104 play-off games – just five behind Jordan. James also has led the Cavaliers in points and assists in 11 consecutive play-off games, passing Oscar Robertson for the longest streak in NBA play-off history.