Captain crunch: LeBron shines brightest when closing games

Rodney Hood

"We have one more game", said Casey, perhaps stating the inevitable.

Miles is making his first start of the Eastern Conference semifinal while Ibaka is back after not starting Game 3. Not to mention, two game-winning shots.So it's hard to make the argument that's coming next, but, through three games in the postseason, members of the Cavs' organization felt James wasn't engaged the way he usually is during the playoffs.

Jason Smith declares that behind sorcery of Brad Stevens, the Celtics will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will defeat the Cavaliers and advance to their first NBA Finals since 2010, possibly putting an end to LeBron's career in Cleveland once and for all.

The moment the Cavs inbounded the ball with eight seconds to go in Cleveland's Game 3 win over the Toronto Raptors, you could sense the inevitable. The Raptors had the league's second-best record, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, a deeper bench, and in Lowry and DeRozan enough firepower to offset James.

Anunoby averaged 5.9 points and 20 minutes a game during the regular season. However, LeBron got help in the second round as Kevin Love finally came back to life and the two ended up destroying the Raptors in a four-game sweep.

That shooting slump carried over to the Raptors series, with Hood shooting a miserable 1-of-9 from the floor in just 39 combined minutes across four games.

No team has ever mounted a successful comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in the National Basketball Association playoffs, a reality that is not lost on the oddsmakers.

"Losing the game, they were still shellshocked in Game 2, they got beat down".

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that LeBron has worked on his game so much that he's logged considerable practice time on wrong-legged, hang-in-the-air-forever, bank shots at the buzzer. "If the game is tied or the game is on the line, we got a great person to go to down the stretch".

With a supporting cast firing on all cylinders, the Cavs are an altogether more unsafe teams than when they rely exclusively on LeBron.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said his team had paid the price for not being able to recover from shattering losses in games one and three.

"They wanted it more than us", Valanciunas said.

And as rumors swirl about Casey's future, Lue said Toronto would be foolish to do anything rash. The Cavs didn't let up, pushing their lead to 30.

James was also kind in victory, saying the Raptors were "a very well-balanced, put-together team this year". Didn't lose three straight during the regular season, then lost four in a row to the Cavs.

J.R. Smith celebrating things is always the best - remember how he didn't wear a shirt for like a year after the Cavaliers won a title? There was more to cheer before Cleveland finished with the fourth-highest in points total in franchise playoff history.

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