THE Cleveland Cavaliers sizzled early before LeBron James took over to notch another playoff milestone in their 125-103 demolition of the Toronto Raptors to take a 2-0 lead in the East semis series on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time) at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavs went on a 12-0 spurt and rode a hot shooting start, going a perfect 5-of-5 from three and 12-of-17 from the field, to take a 34-22 lead in the first quarter. Cleveland kept their torrid shooting in the next period while particularly locking down on DeMar DeRozan who only had one point at the break as the Cavs took a 62-48 advantage.
Then James took over.
After scoring 19 in the first half, James had 17 in the third and surpassed Kareem Adbul-Jabbar for second place in the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. The Cavs closed the period on a 14-3 run to take a 26-point advantage in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Lowry tried to play through a sprained ankle in the third quarter, but left for good before the period ended and finished with 20 points and five assists in 29 minutes.
With their top scorer gone, the Raptors scrambled for offense in the fourth as DeRozan remained struggling with his shot, making just 1-of-10 in three quarters. The Cavs capitalized in extending the lead to 29 midway through the fourth, and both teams rested their stars from there.
James led the Cavaliers with 39 points on 10-of-14 shooting, with four triples and 15 free throws. Kyrie Irving had back-to-back 20-point, 10-assist games in his career with 22 markers and 11 dimes. Channing Frye shot 5-of-7 from deep to add 18 points off the bench.
Cleveland knocked down 18-of-33 triples for the game.
Jonas Valanciunas came off the bench to lead Toronto with 23 points, while fellow reserve Cory Joseph added 22. DeRozan ended up with just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Game 3 moves to Toronto on Friday.