Cavaliers forward Channing Frye looks to shoot as
Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas defends
during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball
Eastern Conference finals, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in
CLEVELAND — Back home, the
Cavaliers were not hospitable. Just rude.
They roughed up the visiting
LeBron James scored 23 points
then sat the fourth quarter, Kevin Love scored 25, and
Cleveland unleashed tenacious defense on Toronto to regain
control of the Eastern Conference finals with a 116-78 rout
of the Raptors in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
On their court in front of
20,000-plus screaming, towel-waving fans following two
straight losses in Canada, the Cavs opened a 34-point lead
in the first half, pushed it to 43 in the second half and
took a 3-2 series lead.
They can clinch their second
straight conference title and trip to the NBA Finals with a
win in Game 6 on Friday night in Toronto.
"We gotta come out from
the beginning and that starts with the Big 3," James
said, referring to himself, Love and Kyrie Irving, who added
23 points. "We'll be much better."
It's hard to imagine the Cavs
being more in sync. They clicked at both ends in Game 5,
handing the Raptors a beating that could linger into the
offseason. After coming in with momentum and confidence,
Toronto's players left Quicken Loans Arena shaken and one
loss from having their deepest playoff run stopped.
"They kicked our butts,
bottom line," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
"That's been all three ballgames."
Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (2) shoots against Toronto
Raptors' Luis Scola (4), from Argentina, during the
second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern
Conference finals Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in
James had eight assists and
six rebounds in 31 minutes before checking out late in the
third quarter with the Cavs up 37. He spent the fourth
quarter resting on the bench while Cleveland's reserves
finished the romp.
At halftime, James, Irving
and Love had outscored the Raptors 43-34. Cleveland has won
its three games in the series by a combined 88 points, and
won its last four over Toronto at home by 110.
"They are a different
team here," Casey said. "We came in here with a
chance to do something special and we didn't get it done.
They pushed us around and took what they wanted."
DeMar DeRozan scored 14 and
Kyle Lowry 13 for the Raptors, who were overwhelmed from the
start. Bismack Biyombo had just four rebounds after getting
40 the past two games. The only positive for Toronto was
center Jonas Valanciunas, who returned after missing eight
straight games with a sprained right ankle. He scored nine
points in 18 minutes.
Raptors' Bismack Biyombo (8) reacts to a call against
Toronto, during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA
basketball Eastern Conference finals between the
Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, May
25, 2016, in Cleveland.
Playing defense as if every
possession was the game's last, Cleveland held Toronto to 34
points in the opening half while building a 31-point
halftime lead — the largest in conference finals history.
Since their expansion arrival in 1993, the Raptors had never
been down by 30 before in any game — regular or postseason
— at halftime but they have rarely seen a defense like
The Cavs were all over the
court, swarming and stifling DeRozan and Lowry, who combined
for 67 points in Game 4.
A courtside doctor might have
stopped this one in the first half.
Love found his shooting touch
after it went missing during the lost weekend in Toronto,
where he went just 5 of 23 and was benched for the fourth
quarter of Game 4. He finished 8 of 10 from the field, a
confidence-boosting performance that should temporarily
quiet his critics.
"Kevin Love being Kevin
Love," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. "He had two bad
shooting games and we made a big deal out of it. Nothing he
does amazes me. We gotta keep him aggressive all the
The Cavs made a point of
getting Love the ball right away and he responded by making
all four field goal attempts, dropping a 3 late in the first
quarter that pushed the Cavs to a 37-19 lead.
"It was a bounce-back
game for him," James said. "He's a true
Cavaliers forward LeBron James dunks against the
Toronto Raptors during the first half of Game 5 of the
NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Wednesday,
May 25, 2016, in Cleveland.
continued in the second quarter, and when James got free for
an easy two-handed dunk, Cavs fans could relax and begin
making TV viewing plans for Friday.
These looked more like the
Cavaliers who opened the postseason with 10 straight wins,
obliterated the Raptors by a combined 50 points in Games 1
and 2 and given a chance to beat whomever survived in the
WHOLE LOTTA LOVE
The Cavs credited Love with
setting the tone early.
"He really got it
going," J.R. Smith said. "He makes tough shots
around the basket and that was big for us."
CENTER OF ATTENTION
Valanciunas hadn't played
since May 7. He scored two quick baskets in the first
quarter when the Raptors were still close.
Raptors: Dropped to 2-7 on
the road in this postseason. ... Played a game every other
day since April 29, going 7-7. . Biyombo and Valanciunas are
the only teammates with at least 120 rebounds this
Cavaliers: The 38-point win
ties the fifth largest in the conference finals. ...
Cleveland is 7-0 at home in these playoffs, winning by an
average of 20.9 points. ... Trumped their 31-point win in
Game 1, which was the previous most lopsided playoff victory
in team history. ... James played in his 191st career
postseason game, moving him ahead of Magic Johnson for 12th
place on the all-time list. ... James (1,320) is tied with
Kobe Bryant for the second-most free throws in postseason
history. Michael Jordan made 1,463.
Game 6 is Friday night in