USA Today Sports

Rested Cavs take Game One over Raptors

The Cavs defeated the Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals, 116-105


CLEVELAND--The Cavaliers proved rest is better than rust.

Prior to the game, Tyronn Lue said he would prefer the Cavs to be rested as opposed to worrying about them being rusty.

After eight days off since their first-round sweep over the Indiana Pacers, the Cavs came out and dispatched of the Toronto Raptors in Game One, 116-105 in front of a sold out crowd of 20,562 fans at Quicken Loans Arena. The Raptors made the final score respectable after the Cavs pulled their starters leading by 18 points, 110-92.

"It was good to get off to a good start after the layoff that we had," Lue said. "We used the blueprint from last year after we had a sweep in the first two rounds. We stayed the course and had a chance to do a lot of shooting, a lot of conditioning."

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said the Cavs took advantage of being rested.

"They were well-rested," Casey said. "They were moving around and we were a step behind. I think speed and quickness were the difference."

The Cavs have now won eight-straight playoff games dating back to the final three in the NBA Finals over Golden State last season.

Buoyed by three starters with double-doubles--and nearly four--the Cavs 'Big 3' combined for 77 points. LeBron James scored a game-high 35 points and had 10 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and dished out 10 assists. Kevin Love scored 18 points and had nine rebounds. Tristan Thompson added 11 points and had 14 rebounds.

The Cavs showed no ill effects from an eight day layoff after sweeping the Pacers as they started fast and used two, 10-0 runs in the first quarter and led 30-18 after the first quarter. The first run was punctuated when Irving threw a pass off the back board and James slammed it home with his left hand to make the score 22-14 at the time. 

"It's just another play in the book," Irving said. "To have 20,562 (fans) going crazy felt good, especially to get off to a good start."

Irving knew after the layoff, the Cavs could've gotten off to a slow start.

"It could go either way after being off a week," Irving said. "We made a conscience effort to get out, move the basketball and get some easy shots."

Lue was asked what he was most pleased with.

"When (the Raptors) came back and made a surge in the second quarter and the starters were able to bring the lead back to 22," Lue said.  "Our confidence never wavered. They made a couple runs, but we kept our composure. That's what the playoffs are about."

The Cavs built an 18-point lead in the second quarter at 38-20 when Kyle Korver hit a trey. However, Toronto went on a 19-3 run to cut the Cavs lead to just two points, 41-39. After calling a timeout, Lue put the starters back in and the Cavs closed the half with a 21-9 run to take a 62-48 lead at halftime. 

In the third quarter, James had a nifty pass to Thompson, who threw back to the corner Irving for a trey with 5:56 to play in third for 79-64 lead. The Cavs led by as many as 25 points in the third quarter after Thompson hit a layup. Cleveland out scored the Raptors 34-26 in the period to lead by 22 points after three quarters, 96-74. 

Toronto out scored the Cavs in the final  period, 31-20 to make the final 116-105.

Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 20 points, while DeMar DeRozan had 19 points. 

Lue said it's good to get off to a good start, but he says the team knows they need to come back Wednesday focused and ready to play.

"Our guys know what is at stake," Lue said. "It's only one game. We won't relax, we won't get comfortable because we know what happened last year after we won our first two games here. We went up there and got our butts kicked."

Tip Ins

Rematch: This is the second time the two teams have met in the postseason. The Cavs and Raptors met in the Eastern Conference Finals last year with the Cavs prevailing in six games. The Cavs outscored Toronto by an average of 15.5 points a game (105.8-90.3), which included the franchise's largest margin of victory in playoff history when they won by 38 points, 116-78 in Game 5.

Home Cookin': The Cavs are 29-4 against Eastern Conference opponents dating back to 2015, including a 16-1 record at home. 

Keeping it Down: Only 3 turnovers in the first half that resulted in two Raptors points. Toronto turned it over 8 times, which led to 12 Cavs points. For the game, the Cavs had 12 turnovers that resulted in 11 points. Toronto had 12 turnovers that resulted in 18 Cavaliers points. 

Dishing It Out: The Cavs had 26 assists, led by Kyrie Irving with 10.

J.R.'s Thumb: J.R. Smith banged his thumb, the one that was cost him three months, but Lue did not think it was serious. Reports said he didn't have an X-ray. Kevin Love banged his knee late in the game, but stayed in.

Charity Stripe: The Cavs shot 82.8 percent from the free throw line on 24-of-29. LeBron James was 7-of-8, Kyrie Irving was 7-of-9, while Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson were 5-of-6. The Raptors intentionally fouled Thompson, who promptly made 4-of-4.

Shoot the 3: The Cavs hit 14-of-34 from three point range for 41.2 percent. Kyrie Irving was 3-of-8, Kevin Love was 3-of-6, Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith were 2-of-4.

The King's Quest: LeBron James enters the second-round of the playoffs with 5,703 points in his career in the playoffs, third on the all-time list behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has 5,762 points. James needs 60 points to surpass Jabbar and become the No .2 playoff scorer in NBA history trailing only Michael Jordan. After scoring 35 points, James just needs 25 points to pass Jabbar. James played 41:02 and was 13-of-23 from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range. James had 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 3 turnovers to go with one blocked shot.

Making a Change: Raptors' coach Dwane Casey had changed up his lineup in the last three games with the Bucks in the first round and inserted Serge Ibaka at center to start the game in place of Jonas Valanciumas. He started Norman Powell at guard to put three guards in the starting  lineup. Casey was asked pregame what his lineup would be and he declined to answer.  He went back to his original lineup and Valanciunas started at center. 

No RJ: Richard Jefferson was the only player to not play when Lue emptied the bench at the end of the game. Dahntay Jones, Derrick Williams, James Jones played, while Kay Felder was inactive, as was Edy Tavares.

Go Browns: New Browns QB DeShone Kizer, a Toledo native was introduced on the Jumbotron, as were Joe Haden and Bernie Kosar.

Next Up: The Cavs and Raptors will play Game Two Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.


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