Cavs crush Raptors in Eastern opener

Wed May 18, 2016 1:20am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - As 3-pointers fell at historic rates through the first two rounds of the postseason, LeBron James' message never changed: The Cleveland Cavaliers are not just a team of jump-shooters.

In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, James and the Cavaliers proved it. On a night when the Toronto Raptors did their best to take away the 3-point arc, the Cavs instead attacked the paint and stormed their way to a 115-84 victory Tuesday and a 1-0 series lead.

It was the most lopsided postseason win in Cavs history and marked their ninth victory in as many playoff games this year.

The Cavs are rolling, and James and Kyrie Irving are a big reason why.

James scored 24 points and Irving had 27 as the Cavs made just seven 3-pointers but shot 55.4 percent and scored 56 points in the paint.

"Tonight they wanted us to be in the paint," James said. "We tried to take advantage of that. I keep telling you we're not a jump-shooting team. We're a balanced team. We're able to do whatever the game dictates, and we're able to adjust to that."

Kevin Love had 14 points and four rebounds, his first game in this postseason without a double-double. The Cavs rolled anyway, becoming the first team to win their first nine postseason games since the 2012 San Antonio Spurs, who won their first 10 before losing four straight to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

DeMar DeRozan scored 18 points for the Raptors, but only six after the first quarter. Fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry scored eight points on a tough 4-of-14 shooting night after scoring a career-high 43 against the Cavs in a February victory at Air Canada Centre. Neither Lowry nor DeRozan attempted a free throw Tuesday.

"We've got to come out of the gate with that mindset, being aggressive like we usually do," Lowry said. "I think we didn't try to do that until later on in the game."   Continued...

May 17, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives against Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll (5) during the third quarter in game one of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 115-84. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports