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[BKL] May 7, 2018

NBA Playoff Preview: Raptors at Cavaliers

By Gracenote

No. 1 Toronto Raptors at No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (-5.5; 213.5)

All-Star LeBron James is putting on a display this postseason that will be talked about for ages, and he has a chance to take his run another round further when he leads the Cleveland Cavaliers into a potential Game 4 clincher at home against the Toronto Raptors on Monday. After scoring 43 points on Thursday to help the Cavaliers gain a 2-0 series lead on the road, James knocked down a running buzzer-beater to give his team a 105-103 victory in Game 3 on Saturday.

The game-winner capped a 38-point effort for the superstar, who is averaging 34.8 points on 54.7 percent shooting to go along with 9.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists during the playoffs. The top-seeded Raptors are on the verge of being swept out of the playoffs for the second straight season by Cleveland.

ABOUT THE RAPTORS: Teams that fall behind 3-0 in the playoffs are 0-129 in NBA history, giving Toronto virtually insurmountable odds to come out on top against a team it cannot seem to solve. The task is made all the more difficult when leading scorer DeMar DeRozan struggles the way he did in Game 3, producing eight points - more than 15 below his average this postseason - on 3-of-12 shooting, leading to a benching during a critical portion of the fourth quarter.

ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: James will finish his career with a hefty collection of buzzer-beaters, but the sheer difficulty of Saturday's one-handed bank shot will make this one stand out. Even more important for Cleveland's long-term outlook this spring was the second straight solid game for centre Kevin Love, who had 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 16 rebounds.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Korver, SF Jeff Green and SG J.R. Smith are a combined 22-for-40 from 3-point range in the series.

2. Raptors PG Kyle Lowry is averaging 22 points on 62.9 percent shooting in the series.

3. If the Raptors win they will host Game 5 on Wednesday.
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