September 14, 2018 at 3:48 am #445
The moment required brilliance. LeBron James delivered again.
James banked in a running one-hander at the buzzer Rodney Hudson Jersey , giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a 105-103 win over Toronto on Saturday night in Game 3 and shoving the Raptors to the edge of their most devastating playoff exit.
After the Raptors tied it on rookie OG Anunoby’s 3-pointer with eight seconds left, James took the inbounds pass, dribbled the length of the court and rose off the floor on the left side of the basket just feet from Toronto’s bench.
Glass. Bucket. Bedlam.
”Tie game, down one,” James said. ”I live for those moments.”
As the noise level in Quicken Loans Arena rose to jet-engine levels, the Cavs sprinted from the other end of the court and mobbed James. After some tight hugs, he was back atop the scorer’s table – just like he did after a last-second 3-pointer to win Game 5 against Indiana – and celebrated a win that was up for grabs.
”I’ve been doing that since I was like six, seven, eight years old,” James said. ”Maybe even before that. There’s a picture floating around of me beside a Little Tikes hoop with a saggy Pamper on and I was doing it back then and all the way up until now, at 33.
”Things that you dream about, that you get those opportunities and I’ve been fortunate enough to get a handful of those in some of the biggest moments in my career.”
James finished with 38 points, Kevin Love added 21 and 16 rebounds and Kyle Korver scored 18 for the Cavs, who have won nine straight postseason games over the Raptors and may sweep them for the second straight year.
The difference in the two teams is simple: One has James, the other doesn’t.
”I ran out of words a while ago,” said Korver, struggling to describe James’ latest heroics. ”I’ve seen him shoot that shot, that game-winner Steve Young Jersey , countless times when he’s messing around in shootaround and practice. It’s always like, why would he shoot a shot like that – to win a playoff game?
”Unbelievable play. He did it again. He’s been so huge in those moments for us all year.”
It was the fifth career postseason buzzer-beater for James, the second of these playoffs, and this one had maybe the highest degree of difficulty of them all.
”It is very difficult,” James said, smiling. ”Don’t try it at home.”
Kyle Lowry scored 27 for Toronto, which played much more physically and clawed back in the fourth quarter while All-Star DeMar DeRozan was on the bench. DeRozan, despondent at not being able to do more or help when it mattered most, went just 3 of 12 from the field and scored eight points.
”It was extremely hard, extremely hard,” DeRozan said of being benched by coach Dwane Casey in the fourth. ”I never want to be over there watching. It definitely sucks to watch it. It was just one of those nights for me, personally. I kept thinking, as long as we win, it cures everything.”
Casey wanted to trap James on the final play, but he went by defenders at ”100 miles per hour.”
Lowry knew James would take the ball up the left side, and once he pulled up there wasn’t much that could be done.
”Maybe we could have doubled him or made him go right,” Lowry said. ”You know he’s going left and he made a tough shot.”
After winning the series’ first two games in Canada, the Cavs came home and won a brawl with the Raptors Laquon Treadwell Jersey , who just can’t beat James. He’s 11-2 against Toronto in the past three postseasons.
The three-time champion has ended the Raptors’ past two seasons, and despite playing with a different supporting cast, James is one win from a Toronto trifecta.
We The North? He The North.
Game 4 is Monday night, and the odds are stacked against the rattled Raptors. Of the 129 teams in NBA history to fall behind 3-0, none has come back to win.
”Fight,” Lowry said when asked what’s next. ”Rumble. What else are you gonna do?”
This was supposed to be the Raptors’ season, the one that ended in triumph over James. Toronto had the East’s best record, the No. 1 seed, home-court advantage and a Cleveland team that appeared very beatable.
But the Cavs stole Game 1 by a point in overtime, and James scored 43 in a virtuoso Game 2 performance.
Then, as he has done so many times, he ripped out Toronto’s hearts with a probable series-and-season-ending dagger, a shot that belongs right at the top of so many in his remarkable career.
”There was way more time than I needed,” he said.
The first half ended in frustration for the Raptors with DeRozan, Casey and his assistants screaming at the officials following a sequence that went against them.
Serge Ibaka’s basket was originally counted and then waved off by the referees, and the reversal was doubly painful as Love buried a 3-pointer to put the Cavs ahead by 13. When the half ended, an incensed Casey, his suit coat flying open and his tie jumping off his chest Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey , stormed off the floor.
In the closing minutes, Ibaka was called for a foul on what appeared to be a clean block on James.
”I thought there were some bad calls down the stretch that all went against us,” DeRozan said. ”It still came down to a running, bank-shot, game-winner by LeBron.”
Desperate to find something, anything, to slow down the Cavs, Casey changed his starting lineup for Game 3. He inserted 6-foot guard Fred VanVleet and benched forward Ibaka, going with a smaller lineup
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Elway might find himself in the market for a veteran backup quarterback soon, yet there’s one man who won’t be getting a call: Colin Kaepernick .
“Colin had his chance to be here,” Elway said Thursday when asked if the former San Francisco 49ers QB would be an option if he decides Case Keenum’s backup isn’t already on Denver’s roster.
“We offered him a contract. He didn’t take it,” Elway said. “And as I said at my deposition (in Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit against the NFL) — and I don’t know if I’m legally able to say this — but he’s had his chance to be here. He passed.”
Kaepernick declined to take a pay cut from his $11.9 million salary to facilitate a trade to the Broncos in 2016 following Peyton Manning’s retirement.
Unable to get a discount from Kaepernick or a rebate from the 49ers, Elway moved up in the draft to select former Memphis QB Paxton Lynch in the first round of the draft that spring.
Lynch has been a flop and this week was demoted to third string behind Chad Kelly, last year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” who missed his rookie season while recovering from knee and wrist surgeries.
Kaepernick contends he’s no longer in the NFL because he’s the one who started the protests during the national anthem that have engulfed the league ever since. At first he sat down, then later took a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to highlight social injustices against minorities.
Several players joined in, and President Donald Trump criticized them for disrespecting the flag and U.S. military by not standing during the anthem.
Lynch was beaten out in 2016 and ’17 by seventh-round QB Trevor Siemian Will Dissly Jersey , who was traded to Minnesota in the offseason following Keenum’s free agent signing. Elway declared the backup job up for grabs between Lynch and Kelly.
Lynch was demoted after failing to read defenses correctly and throwing for just 24 yards in seven series in Denver’s preseason opener against the Vikings.
Kelly threw for 177 yards and two TDs in mop-up duty, but that was his first game in more than 640 days. And he’s had a tougher time this week while running with the second string against the Bears’ backups in joint practices at the UC Health Center .
Kelly will get a long look Saturday night against Chicago as Elway determines whether he can trust him to step in and win games if necessary.
What he’s looking for in a backup QB is a guy “who has the experience and the ability to come in and help you win a football game,” Elway said. “It’s a different quality because you have to be ready all the time, and mentally be ready all the time and you don’t get a chance to play all the time.
“And as hard as it is to find a starter, it’s just as hard to find a guy that can back up. And so, we’re always looking for those.”
If Elway doesn’t feel comfortable with Kelly as his backup, he could sign a free agent next week who isn’t in anyone’s camp or wait for final cuts on Sept. 1 for more options.
“We’ll wait through this week and see what happens,” Elway said. “I feel like we still have time.”
Elway said he’s been pleased with Keenum, save for his pair of three-and-outs in the preseason opener.
“I was hoping to get off to a better start than we had the first week in the preseason,” Elway said. “But it’s been a good week of practice and Case has had a good camp. So, hopefully we dig in a little bit more this week and get off to a better start.”
And he’s hoping Kelly provides a better performance with the second string than Lynch did.
Elway might soon have to cut the man he once thought was his next franchise quarterback.
“We haven’t played two preseason games yet,” Elway said, “so I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.”
Notes: Newly signed S Shamarko Thomas had to leave practice early because of the heat. … Coach Vance Joseph declined to say whether Von Miller will be held out again Saturday: “We’ll see with Von. Last year he didn’t play until Week 3. I think he had four plays, one sack and one quarterback pressure.”
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.