With the Western Conference Finals stealing all of the thunder, the Eastern Finals have gotten pretty good as well. The Raptors won both of their home games, and the series returns to Cleveland tonight tied at two. One of my favorite things is Game 5 of a tied series. With both teams fighting to be one game away from the NBA Finals, we should be in for an intense battle tonight. Can the Raptors keep up their good work on the road, or will the Cavs, more comfortable at home, recover from their trip to Toronto? Above the border, they seemed out of sorts after winning their first ten Playoff games. Now the Raptors have confidence, and the Cavs are the ones who are back on their heels, so let’s cut the talk and get down to business for will hopefully be a great Game 5.
8:28 pm – We’re welcomed to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio by tonight’s narrators, Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. Hooray.
8:38 – Cleveland wins the opening tip, and Game 5 is underway! Kevin Love hits a hook shot to put the first points on the board, but he’s quickly answered by a Luis Scola three and the Raptors start off the game with a 3-2 lead.
— NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2016
8:42 – After Kevin Love, looking to bounce back from a miserable trip to Toronto, hits a three, the Raptors call a time out with the score Cleveland 11, Toronto 7 with 7:58 left in the first quarter. Love’s hit his first couple of shots, and both teams are off to solid starts, although the Raptors have already given up a couple of offensive rebounds that led to baskets for the Cavs.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) May 26, 2016
8:48 – Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors usual starting center, is entering the game off the bench after missing the previous eight with an ankle injury. Let’s see what kind of impact he can make with the Raptors trailing, 15-7.
8:52 – Valanciunas has made an immediate impact, scoring a couple of quick baskets, including a jumper from the free throw line that sends us into a time out with the score Cleveland 20, Toronto 16 with 4:20 left in the first quarter.
— NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2016
9:00 – We’ve got a time out, as it seems the Cavs are just fine here in Game 5. They’re on a 14-2 run, and after a three from Kyrie Irving, the score’s Cleveland 34, Toronto 18 with 1:02 left in the opening quarter.
9:04 – The first quarter comes to an end with the score Cleveland 37, Toronto 19. The Cavs are shooting 68.2% from the floor, and Kevin Love’s a perfect 4-4 with 12 points, and Kyrie Irving’s right behind him with 11. Sometimes all it takes is some home cooking to get you back on track. Meanwhile, the Raptors are having a hard time putting the ball in the basket, which is unfortunate, seeing as it’s the core concept of the game.
9:09 – Channing Frye hits a long two from the corner for the first points of the second quarter. It extends the Cavs lead to 39-19.
9:13 – LeBron James throws an alley-oop to Richard Jefferson who throws it down. Things continue to get worse for the Raptors, who call a time out with the score Cleveland 43, Toronto 20 with 8:34 left in the first half.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) May 26, 2016
9:24 – We’re going to have a time out with 5:37 left until halftime and a score of Cleveland 49, Toronto 28. Any excitement the Raptors had built up after the last two games has quickly been sent swirling down the toilet.
9:29 – Technical foul on DeMar DeRozan! He’s angry after a foul wasn’t called on JR Smith, who was guarding DeRozan as he went for a basket. Kyrie Irving knocks down the technical free throw, and the Cavs lead, 52-30.
9:32 – After Kyle Lowry coughs the ball up, Kyrie Irving sends it down the court for LeBron James to catch up with. He does, and he takes it to the hoop for a dunk. The Raptors need another time out with the score Cleveland 56, Toronto 30 with an even three minutes left in the first half.
— NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2016
9:42 – After an awesome Kevin Love outlet pass to LeBron for a dunk, ESPN treats us to some old footage of the God of Outlets, Wes Unseld, throwing one to who I think was Kevin Grevey on the old Washington Bullets. Old footage is always appreciated here at The Bonus.
9:45 – We’ve reached halftime with the score Cleveland 65, Toronto 34. The 31 point lead that the Cavs are enjoying has set a record for largest halftime lead in Conference Finals history. Kevin Love has 19 points on perfect 6-6 shooting. That’s more points than he scored in the two games in Toronto combined. LeBron James has 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and Kyrie Irving also has 12. The Cavs are shooting 62.5% overall, and I’d say they’ve responded really fucking well in the face of their first Playoff adversity this year. Meanwhile, the Raptors are struggling to even put the ball in the basket. Their star back court of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are each shooting 2-7 from the field. Lowry and Bismack Biyombo lead them with seven points apiece.
That first half was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Cavs. As for the Raptors, the doctor might be pulling the plug on them at this rate.
9:49 – That was a rough first half, but it’s nothing Today in NBA History can’t fixed! As always, it’s brought to you by the pioneers over at Basketball-Reference.
Back on May 25, 1975, the Warriors won their first championship out West, finishing off a Finals sweep with a 96-95 victory over the aforementioned Wes Unseld and the Washington Bullets. Rick Barry scored 20 to lead the Warriors, and Phil Chenier led the Bullets with 26, but they fell just short in a game that will hopefully end up on Hardwood Classics on NBA TV. In fact, if anybody from NBA TV is reading this, I’m humbly offering my services as Hardwood Classics curator.
10:02 – LeBron gets a steal and takes it the length of the court for a dunk, starting off the second half with a play that perfectly sums up the first half. It extends the Cavs lead to 67-34.
10:07 – Kevin Love misses his first shot, and it was probably the easiest one he’ll take all night. He was wide open along the baseline, got the ball, went to lay it up, only to have it clank off the front of the rim.
10:16 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 86, Toronto 54 with 5:24 left in the third quarter. With Game 6 up in Toronto, maybe they’ll rebound and force a Game 7…which will be back here in Cleveland where they clearly can’t buy a basket.
10:25 – Another time out with the score Cleveland 92, Toronto 57 with 2:47 left in the third quarter. We’re just riding this one out at this point.
10:35 – The third quarter comes to an end with the scoreboard reading Cleveland 100, Toronto 60. Holy Christ, we still have another quarter of this. I love basketball and all, but even this is almost too much. It’s gotten so bad that the Cavs have cleaned all of the cobwebs off of Timofey Mozgov and put him in the game. Remember when he was one of their most important players in last year’s Playoffs? I swear, he really was.
10:40 – Jonas Valanciunas takes a pass and hits a shot from short range. It’s the first points of the fourth quarter, and it gets the Raptors deficit back under 40 as they now trail, 100-62.
10:43 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 105, Toronto 66 with 8:57 left in the ball game. Some of the luminaries out on the floor here in the fourth quarter include the likes of Mo Williams, Dahntay & James Jones, Jason Thompson and First Round Raptors hero, Norman Powell.
10:53 – Time out with the score Cleveland 110, Toronto 71 with 5:31 to go. So, um, who’s ready for tomorrow’s Game 5 between the Warriors and Thunder?
10:58 – The announcers are openly discussing their favorite old school TV shows. Mark Jackson calls out Mike Breen because all of his shows feature all-white casts. Breen rebounds by declaring The Wire the greatest show of all time. This conversation makes me want to blow my brains out.
11:07 – This one finally comes to an end with a final score of Cleveland 116, Toronto 78. That’s an ass-whooping for all time. Mainly, I’m just excited that I don’t have to listen to Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson anymore. It’s hard enough making it all the way through a 38 point blowout, but those three made me lose my will to live. The best part is, Van Gundy pontificated about how calling the end of games like this “Garbage Time” isn’t disrespectful to the players in the game, then all three of them went on to ignore the game and talk about bullshit. Not that I really held up my end of the bargain, as this post got progressively half-assed as the game went along.
ANYWAY! The Cavs big three set the tone tonight. Kevin Love rebounded nicely from his terrible time in Toronto, scoring 25 points on 8-10 shooting. LeBron James went for 23 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists, and Kyrie Irving also scored 23. Tristan Thompson chipped in with 9 points and 10 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 14 points, but the less said about their performance tonight, the better.
With the outlandish win, the Cavs join the Thunder at being one win away from the NBA Finals. It’d be LeBron’s sixth straight trip to the Finals, a feat matched only by the Celtics of yore. Game 6 will be in Toronto, where the Cavs haven’t won all season. Then again, they seemed poised to take care of business, and put an end to this series, but we’ll see what happens when they actually play the game.