Cavaliers down Raptors in second-round playoff opener

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Cavaliers down Raptors in second-round playoff opener

Washington (AFP) – LeBron James scored 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on Monday, leading the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers over Toronto 116-105 in the opener of their second-round playoff series.

Kyrie Irving added 24 points and 10 assists while Kevin Love had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Cavaliers seized the edge in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference matchup with game two set for Wednesday.

The Cleveland-Toronto winner next faces Washington or Boston, which leads that series 1-0 entering Tuesday’s second game.

Houston visits San Antonio later Monday to open their Western Conference matchup. The winner will face either Utah or Golden State, who begin their second-round series Tuesday.

James hit 13-of-23 shots from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free throw line while Tristan Thompson contributed 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers, whom James warned will be even better next time out.

“I feel like I’ll be a lot better on Wednesday,” James said, citing an eight-day layoff since completing a first-round sweep.

“Little bit of rhythm here and conditioning there, I think a lot of our mistakes we were able to cover up for because our energy level was high.

“It’s the feel out game so we’ll break down the film and we’ll be much better Wednesday.”

The Cavaliers scored 10 consecutive points to grab a 22-11 edge, stretched it to 38-20 early in the second quarter and led 62-48 at half-time. They led by as much as 25 points on the way to victory.

Irving scored 16 first-half points while James had 13 and Love 11.

“We want to continue to move the ball, share the ball and make everybody feel comfortable with what we’re trying to do,” James said.

The Raptors, who fell to 1-12 in playoff series openers, were led by 20 points from Kyle Lowry and 19 from DeMar DeRozan.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks in Game One of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Toronto Raptors, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 1, 2017
Copyright Getty/AFP Jason Miller
Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors drives around Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 1, 2017
Copyright Getty/AFP Jason Miller

 

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