Happy hour: LeBron scores 35, grabs beer as Cavs top Raptors

Game 1 Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors

James scored 35 points to lift Cleveland to a 116-105 victory over Toronto in the opening game of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday.

In last season's series, DeRozan averaged 23 points per game, and 18.5 points in Toronto's four losses. But after falling down 3-1 in the NBA Finals and coming back from that, even after this year's freakish, unfocused regular season featuring god-awful defense throughout, it's becoming increasingly hard to pick against the Cavaliers winning in the end.

The Raptors came into the game on a few days rest after eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, but it was nothing like the eight days off the Cavaliers had earned by sweeping the Indiana Pacers.

"I know he got two free-throws off me in the beginning of the game", he said.

"I thought in the first half, what kept them in the game was that they had 15 points in transition", Head Coach Tyronn Lue said.

It was the same old, same old at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night. But it wasn't enough to keep up with the likes of James and Kyrie Irving, and even Kevin Love. The city seemed to still be basking in the glory of its first championship in 52 years.

The Cavs aren't a particularly young or athletic team, but Love is the best outlet passer in the business and James and Irving are two of the league's best finishers. "That's kind of their MO to slow the game down and try to make it a slugfest", Warriors forward Draymond Green said. It was an encouraging sign for the Raptors, since they'll obviously need Lowry to be at his fearless best to unseat the defending champs. And that's when we kick in and understand we fight well under adversity.

At the start of this series, we believed Toronto was ready to be tested by the Cavaliers.

The Raptors did get an impressive 13 points out of PJ Tucker in just 26 minutes, but even that wasn't enough to have any impact on the outcome. It would be the only Toronto lead of the night.

Irving has a penchant for creating highlight-reel plays not only for himself, but also, his teammates, and that is exactly what he did against the Raptors. He bounced a pass high off the glass that James grabbed and dunked with his left hand. The Cavs outscored the Raps 30-18 in the first. And all five of the Cavs' wins over the Raptors in the postseason have come by double digits. By half-time, it was 62-48.

Key matchup: James vs. Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker. And Jonas Valanciunas? He was put back in the starting lineup, managed six points and six rebounds, but will remembered here for looking comically overmatched for most of the game. Powell had fine offensive moments, too.

Lowry might be able to exploit Cleveland's suspect perimeter defense and lack of a true rim protector by driving to the basket. When James wasn't scoring himself, he was playing the role of point guard or dishing out flawless no-look passes.

James reached and grabbed a beer bottle from her tray and brought it toward his lips before putting it back. The adoring Cleveland fans laughed uproariously at their King's antics.

Story line: Rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals, won by Cleveland in six games.



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