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LeBron Makes NBA History

LBJ has a mental edge over the Raptors and pretty much any team not named the Warriors.

May 04, 2018 - 11:58 am

Game 1 of Cleveland-Toronto was really painful for Raptors fans. Truly and honestly horrific. To come that close to finally beating the Cavs, only to have it ripped away at the end is gutting. And Raptors fans, I wish I could tell you that Game 2 was better, but you know it wasn’t. 

Instead, in the span of 48 hours you had the chance to answer the ultimate question: what’s worse, A - losing by 1 in overtime or B, losing 128-110 in regulation? And the answer is C – they both suck. 

Saying something sucks is not a take. That’s a rule of the show, but things really suck right now for Raptors fans. They had a great regular season. They have a pair of All-Stars and they have a coach of the year candidate in Dwane Casey. And still, they had no chance last night.

That’s no disrespect to the Raptors. The lazy thing would be to roll in here and say last night was “the same old Raptors” and “Raptors gonna Raptor.” But it wasn’t. Last night was about “the same old LeBron” and “LeBron’s gonna LeBron.”

What does that mean? That means when LeBron shows up the way he did last night, he is unstoppable, he is unguardable, he is unfair. When he’s playing the way he did last night, it doesn’t matter who else is out there with him or against him. And the worst part for Toronto was that the guys who were with him were rolling. Kevin Love: 31 and 11. JR Swish: 15. Jeff Green: 14. George Hill: 13. 

But this wasn’t about them. This was all about LeBron. This wasn't even about LeBron owning Toronto mentally, not just Toronto the team, Toronto the city, which he does. But last night wasn't about that because he would've owned just about anyone last night. 

Here are the facts: 19 of 28 from the field, 67.9 shooting percentage. 43 points. Double him? Force the ball out of his hands? He had 14 assists. The first player in NBA history to have 40 points and 14 assists in an NBA playoff game. And he did it with just one turnover. 

Those are the numbers. This is what those numbers sounded and looked like in action.

And this:

He hit 7 fadeaways in the second half alone. And those were comical shots. They were just stupid. They were the ones that Toronto wanted him to take. If you had told Dwane Casey before the game that LeBron was going to take 7 fadeaways in the second half, Casey would’ve been cartwheeling around the room. Because normal people don’t hit those shots. 

But LeBron did. And he knew he would. As Kevin Love said, LeBron was telling him the morning before the game that he was going to do that

And when those turnaround fadeaways from deep are dropping, you can cancel Christmas. And pretty much cancel the rest of the series. 

When LeBron is doing that, he’s not just beating you on the scoreboard, he’s beating you mentally and physically, he’s draining your will to live. He’s snatching your soul.

When he’s doing that, it’s not about the Raptors choking. It’s much, much simpler than that. It’s that Cleveland has LeBron and Toronto doesn’t. Toronto is a good team. They are a good team with the horrible timing of being around when LeBron was around. That’s the biggest reason why they’ve lost 8 straight playoff games to Cleveland. 

Lose eight straight playoff games to a team and the question comes up: does LeBron have a mental edge over the Raptors?

Let me answer that for you, LeBron: yes. Yes you do. You have a mental edge over the Raptors and pretty much any team not named the Warriors. 

But he’s too smart to say he has a mental edge over Toronto. He’s not giving them that bulletin board material. But he’s in their heads. How could he not be? He’s leasing with an option to buy in their domes. He knows he’s got something for them and they know he’s got something for them. And that’s a bad spot to be in. The only thing worse than being down 0-2 is being down 0-2 to a guy who’s got your soul in a jar on his desk.