LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to cement their dominance against Eastern Conference opponents in playoffs this year when they tackle the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the conference finals on Thursday.
Live coverage is on ESPN and WatchESPN, starting at 8:30 pm ET.
James and his cast easily blew out the No. 2 seeded Raptors 115-84 at home in Game 1 on Tuesday night, and again are big favourites to win the second battle.
The lengthy rest before Game 1 evidently worked wonders for the Easter Conference champions, with a rejuvenated James, in particular, looked to have gotten back to his familiar explosiveness, as he finished with five dunks in the win.
Another win for the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night would see them extending their 2016 NBA playoff wins to 10-straight, this after sweeping both Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
James is hoping to see that run continue, but wouldn’t be too down if the Cavs were to drop a game.
“I don’t get (when) people say you need to lose a game to go through something,” he said.
“I think we’ve went through some things and if we happen to lose a game we have to be able to bounce back from it, but that’s not our mindset.”
Oddsmakers currently make Cleveland 13-point favourites against the Raptors, but the neutrals are hoping to see a competitive contest, which would be a massive upgrade from Tuesday.
Toronto, which struggled to keep pace with the Cavs in the first game, will again be without star center Jonas Valanciunas, who has not recovered from his right ankle problem and is out of Game 2.
Valanciunas was averaging 15 points and 12.1 rebounds per contest before he went down injured in the Miami Heat series.
Kyrie Irving, back in good health after a knee injury limited his efforts a year ago, had 27 points and five assists to lead the way for the Cavaliers in the opening win, with James adding 24 points.
According to ESPN, James’ tally in Game 1 handed him his 19th straight playoff outing with 20-plus points and he now has his eyes well set on replacing Shaquille O’Neal for 4th on the all-time playoff scoring list.
DeMar DeRozan was the main contributor for the Raptors with 18 points, while Bismack Biyombo added 12 in the defeat in Game 1.