The Raptors were leading late in the fourth quarter in game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal against Cleveland. LeBron James was having a solid game, but nothing like what he’d done against Indiana.
And then Toronto started missing. And missing. And missing some more. Toronto didn’t make a field goal in the final four minutes of regulation. It was almost as though they couldn’t, like a video game sequence where the computer just decides “Nah, nothing’s going in here.”
That was best exemplified by Toronto’s final possession in the fourth quarter, with the game tied. Take a look at this:
How? How does that happen? LeBron almost won it at the buzzer, and then the Cavs opened up an overtime lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Toronto’s entire system seems to come up short every spring, and that stretch without a field goal is a great example of what can go wrong.
Also LeBron is just so tough to beat, in any context.
It’s just one game, and Toronto could definitely come up big and handle what theoretically is an inferior Cavs team. But it’s also possible Cleveland had a tougher test in Indiana than they will in this round. What a difference a series makes.