When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio. – Lebron James July 1, 2014
Toronto – When Cleveland Cavaliers have tipped off against the Toronto Raptors in Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET, Friday, May 27, the Cavs lead the series 3-2.
Named a first-team All-NBA selection for the 10th time in his career this week, King James scored 33 points, including 21 in the first half to lead his Cavaliers to dominate and defeat the Toronto Raptors 113-87 on Friday, securing a spot in the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season. He is now 4 wins away from from bringing The Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy back to Northeast Ohio where nothing is given and everything is earned. You work for what you have.
“I knew this was going to be a tough game coming into this building, and I had just to bring my game,” James told ESPN’S Doris Burke after the game.
LeBron may not have put up his best numbers in 2014-15, at least in the regular season, but still showed he’s at the top of his game. In the playoffs, he averaged 30 points, 11 rebounds and nearly nine assists per game, almost individually carrying the Cavaliers to a championship despite an injury-decimated roster. Now he returns to the Finals with a much healthier squad.
Irving and James combined for four free throws and Smith knocked down a three-pointer during the run. Following an 8-3 run by the Raptors, the Cavaliers again found their rhythm on the offensive end of the floor. With the Cavs down 8-5 with 9:12 left in the first quarter, Lebron leads his team to a 10-0 run.
James, who also had 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots to go with his 33 points will play in the Finals for the sixth straight season, putting him in a group of elite company, joining seven other players, all of whom are Boston Celtics from the 1950’s and 60’s, a dynasty led by Bill Russell that went to 10 straight finals and won 11 titles in 13 seasons.
Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 35 points and DeMar DeRozan added 20 more, but the All-Star Raptors duo finished with a combined minus-54 plus-minus rating. It was the second consecutive game Cleveland’s Big 3 all scored at least 20 points, and the Cavs also were once again devastating on three-pointers, making 17-of-31.
James was on from the start, and it was a take-down filled with precision, speed, power and brilliant play-making. He made his first four shots, including two three-pointers, and played all but 37 seconds in the first half in which Cleveland built a 55-41 lead.
Cleveland faces either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Golden State Warriors in the finals. Golden State is defending champion and defeated the Cavs last season, but trails the Western Conference finals three games to two. Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday night.
The question of whether or not Cleveland has what it takes to win a championship is another story yet to written. In the mean time, I’m sure we are all going to enjoy watching the OKC and Golden State battle it out in the West while the Cavs patiently wait for their Finals opponent.