CLEVELAND – The Toronto Raptors have built a roster full of talented players who appear more poised than ever to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy in the coming months.
Wednesday night’s 132-129 loss to the Cavs offered another reminder that for all the stability and accomplishments Raptors coach Dwane Casey and his team have earned throughout this season, they still have to contend with the one player who has tortured them for years: LeBron James.
In a scene all too familiar to the Raptors and their fans, James spearheaded a huge Cavs comeback in the second half after his team gave up a season-high 79 points in the first half.
LeBron James scored or assisted on 80 of the Cavaliers’ 132 points Wednesday, including 27 of the Cavs’ 34 points in the fourth quarter.
On the other end of the hallway inside Quicken Loans Arena, Casey acknowledged how important games against playoff teams are to his group and believed the Raptors could benefit from the experience of another high-intensity affair against the Cavs. If the Raptors are intent on taking another step in their development this season, they know they have to find some way to beat James and the Cavs when the stage is the brightest.
On Wednesday, the Raptors left with the same sour taste in their mouths and the same ringing in their ears after it was over: the sound of thousands of Cavs fans chanting “MVP! MVP!” after another dominant James performance.