Cavs Clinch Eastern Conference With Game One Win
It's not over in the Eastern Conference yet, but it's over. The Raptors have zero chance of beating the Cavs, so we might as well wrap it up early.
LeBron James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavs swept the floor with Toronto in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals. The 115-84 final score barely represents the domination. The Cavs led by more than twenty for basically the entire game, and LeBron (24 points, 11-13 FG) and Kyrie Irving (27 points, 11-17 FG) kept assaulting the rim for easy buckets.
The Cavs racked up 56 points in the paint and 26 points off free throws. Toronto couldn't stop them in the lane, and that's not going to change for the rest of the series.
Still not convinced this thing is over? Cleveland outrebounded the Raptors, 45-23, and they shot 55.5% from the floor, even though they went 7-20 from beyond the arc. On top of that, they shut down Kyle Lowry (8 points, 4-14 FG, 0-7 3-pt), and Toronto didn't have a single player over 20 points. Nothing worked for the Raptors, and the Cavs kept cashing in.
Now it's time to stat the obvious: Toronto is at LeBron's mercy. He only missed two shots all night, and he abused any defender the Raptors threw at him in the paint. He wants to go to the NBA Finals again, and there's nothing the Raptors can do to stop it from happening.
The one bad note for the Cavs was an injury to Iman Shumpert. He went up for a dunk and landed awkwardly, twerking his knee and causing him to leave the game. It looked like a painful landing, and Cleveland is going to need his on-ball defense against whoever survives the Western Conference Finals.
People thought the Spurs were going to crush OKC after their Game One win, and the Thunder came back to win the series. Technically, the same thought process would tell you not to count out the Raptors, but Toronto isn't OKC. DeRozan and Lowry aren't Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, which is why this thing is over.
Sorry, Canada. Don't take it personally. You might just want to get out of LeBron's way though, before somebody gets caught standing in front of a train.