Cleveland Cavaliers 132-129 Toronto Raptors: talking points and a takeaway

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward LeBron James is not on board with the NBA's idea of having a play-in tournament to determine the last two playoff seeds in each conference.

Casey should keep telling himself and his players that over and over again, because the way the Cavaliers beat them again at The Q, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Raptors start looking for the monster under the bed again.

Yes, you read that right.

Despite allowing the Cavaliers to shoot 60 percent from the field in the opening 24 minutes, Toronto built up a 15-point lead at the halftime break.

Neither team played defense in the first quarter.

Perhaps the Raptors will find some way to slow down LeBron James and perhaps the entertainment value will be as good, perhaps even better.

The three-time National Basketball Association champion haunted Toronto once again as he finished the game with 35 points, 17 assists and seven rebounds while notably becoming the first player in history to record such figures without a single turnover.

Oh by the way, the Sixers have won four of their last five and eight of their last 11, and according to SportsLine data specialist Stephen Oh, they are the odds-on favorite to end up with the No. 4 seed in the East with home-court advantage in the first round.

None did more than James, whose final assist was a pass to Kevin Love to set up a three-pointer from the corner for a 128-124 Cleveland lead.

That's left Jordan Clarkson - who was more of a salary dump by the Lakers than a coveted Cavs acquisition - as the most consistent of the four.

Reinforcements are on their way as well.

Forwards Tristan Thompson (ankle) and Rodney Hood (back) could be back in the lineup as early as Friday against Phoenix, and Larry Nance Jr. However, they are expected back within the next couple games.

Associate head coach Larry Drew will take over in his absence as Cleveland bid to reach the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season.

"I always say there is one game during the season that changes your team", Drew said following the victory, as per The News-Herald. Stars and situational late game excellence. MLB added a one-game play-in between each league's Wild Card teams, a decision that angered baseball purists but has produced exciting moments. "I really believe this might have been the game for us". LeBron controls everything from the Cavs defensive intensity to their offensive pace. So the Raptors, Canadian process, they were bad. Lose first round. Next year, oh, get in the playoffs, lose first round. The Celtics are dealing with injuries to Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart.

"It's a good win for us just because of how depleted we are with our roster and everything that's been going on", James said in the Cavs locker room following their 132-129 win against the first-place Raptors.

Sure, the Cavs have had plenty of warts throughout what's been an uneven season due to both injuries and chemistry issues.

Alarmingly, with only 11 games left in the regular season, you can't tell the Cavs without a scorecard.

Want your voice heard?

"No, no, no", James said Wednesday, via ESPN.

The 76ers are a season-high 10 games over.500 after Robert Covington, J.J. Redick and Dario Saric each had 15 points in a 119-105 win over the Grizzlies.

  • Salvatore Jensen