Fans and analysts always love to compare Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
The decision no doubt stung even harder as the Raptors lost to the Cavaliers 105-103 on Saturday. "No matter if it's the first quarter or the game victor, I feel pretty comfortable with it".
The Raptors' backs are truly against the wall now, and they'll have to pull out all the stops just to survive on Monday night.
But a smaller subplot that may be far more important for the Cavaliers in their pursuit of a title was that Kevin Love had his second straight game where he looked like, well, Kevin Love. After having nearly half of his roster traded away before the National Basketball Association deadline, James still managed to lead his team to a top-five seed come playoff time.
Game 4 is set to tip inside Quicken Loans Arena at 8:30 p.m. EST on Monday night with TNT having live broadcast coverage.
In the Game 3 nail-biter, the 13-time All-Star finished just two points shy of posting his fifth 40-point game of the postseason - leading all scorers with 38 points, going 14-for-26 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the stripe, adding a team-high seven assists, six boards, a game-high three steals and a blocked shot. But in Game 4 on Sunday, the Warriors ramped up their defensive intensity, shot better and beat New Orleans by 20-plus points for the second time in the series. And to the Raptors' eternal disappointment they did not take advantage of a lesser LeBron in Game 1 as they should have. We've got too much sweat equity, we won the regular-season conference title, guys put in the work to get where they are and we've got a group of young players who committed to getting better and they did.
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Casey went with CJ Miles and OG Anunoby primarily down the stretch. Jonas Valanciunas turned around in disappointment. The undrafted sophomore from Wichita State struggled - finishing with eight points in 33 minutes, going 1-for-7 from long-range.
So how do you decide what went wrong? Kyle Lowry has played solidly all series, posting 22 points and eight assists per game on an 80.2 true shooting percentage.
Kevin Love must've felt like a weight was lifted from his shoulders after the Wine & Gold put IN in the rear view mirror.
His heroics continued through the first round against the Indiana Pacers. Is it time for the Raptors to blow it up?
In the process, the 10-year veteran moved past Brad Daugherty and into fourth on the franchise's all-time Playoff scoring list and past Kyrie Irving and into third place on the list of postseason three-pointers. That fell to 16 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2 and 10/11 in Game 3. At least he can go knowing he gave his best shot with a flawed team for his hometown.