CLEVELAND (AP) After three games, the Toronto Raptors have yet to find the answer.
They came close against the Cavaliers in Games 1 and 3 of this Eastern Conference semifinal. If they don’t figure things out in Game 4 on Monday night, they will have all summer to ponder the problem.
”All three games have presented different plays that would have to be done at certain points of the game to get over the hump,” swingman C.J. Miles said before the shootaround. ”We see them. It’s not’s like there’s no door to get out of the room.”
But this is no easy escape. No NBA team has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.
”The cause of lack of sleep at night when you can replay the game and see so many turning points,” Miles said. ”It’s easy in hindsight to say that play changes everything. You never know. But you always think about the fact that you want to give yourself the best shot every single night and there’s some plays that didn’t always give us the best shot.”
Toronto is coming off a 105-103 loss Saturday, a crushing defeat courtesy of LeBron James‘ bank shot at the buzzer. Guard Fred VanVleet says the Raptors have no choice but to ”keep scratching and clawing.”
”We’ve been in all three games, we’ve had chances to win pretty much all three games, being up in some of the games,” he said. ”We’re right there, we’re competing. We’ve just got to do a little bit more, make a couple more plays and I think we’ll be in good shape.”
This could be the third straight season the Cavs eliminate the Raptors. Going into Monday’s games, Cleveland had won nine straight playoff games against Toronto.
Cleveland is 9-0 when up 3-0 in a series. Toronto is 0-2 when behind 0-3 (swept in 2015 by Washington and 2017 by Cleveland).
The Cavs can reach the conference final for the fourth straight season and eighth time in franchise history.
”I think we have a group of guys that are warriors,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ”And I know they’re going to bounce back. As far as the fight, I love what we did the other night.”
The shot by James, an off-balance 10-foot, has been replayed endlessly on TV. There is also the endless discussion of how Cleveland owns Toronto in the playoffs.
”I’ve seen the play (on TV) obviously,” VanVleet said. ”But I’m not watching ”SportsCenter” all night for those type of reasons right there.”
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