LeBron James had 43 points and 14 assists, Kevin Love added 31 points and 11 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Toronto Raptors 128-110 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.
J.R. Smith scored 15 points, Jeff Green had 14 and George Hill 13 as the Cavaliers posted their eighth consecutive postseason victory over the Raptors and halted Toronto’s four-game winning streak in Game 2s. The Raptors entered 6-1 all-time when playing Game 2 at home.
James had eight rebounds, narrowly missing his second straight triple-double. He connected on 19 of 28 attempts, while Love shot 11 for 21.
DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points and Kyle Lowry had 21 for the Raptors. Toronto won a team-record 59 games and finished as the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference this season, but was easily shoved one step closer to a third straight postseason exit at the hands of James and the Cavs.
Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Fred VanVleet scored 14 points, but the Raptors lost back-to-back home games for the first time all season.
Toronto matched Houston by going 34-7 at home in the regular season, and went 3-0 at home against Washington in round one. The Raptors had not lost consecutive home games since dropping Games 3 and 4 of the second round to Cleveland last May.
The series shifts to Ohio for Game 3 on Saturday night. Toronto has gone 0-5 at Cleveland over the past two postseasons, losing by an average margin of 24.2 points per game.
The Cavaliers are 21-3 at home against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs over the past four years.
The Raptors, who let a 10-point lead slip away in a 113-112 overtime loss in Game 1, were up 54-45 midway through the second quarter but saw their lead dwindle to 63-61 at halftime.
Cleveland took control as Smith scored six points in an 18-5 spurt to begin the third quarter. The Cavs outscored the Raptors 37-24 in the third to take an 11-point edge into the fourth, and Toronto didn’t challenge again.
Lowry made all four of his field goal attempts in the first and scored 10 points as Toronto led 29-26. Love scored 10 points for Cleveland in the first, while James had just four points and two shots in the opening quarter.
The Raptors connected on 13 of 18 attempts in the second quarter, overcoming 12 points by James.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey was called for a technical foul for arguing after Lowry was called for a foul on a driving James late in the second. Love made the technical free throw but James missed both of his attempts.
James was on target in Cleveland’s game-changing third quarter, connecting on seven of 10 attempts and scoring 15 points. Love added nine as the Cavs took a 98-87 lead to the fourth.
Cavaliers: The 24 combined points by James and Love in the third matched Toronto’s total for the quarter. … The Cavaliers are 18-1 in playoff series when they win Game 1.
Raptors: Lowry made his first six shot attempts. … Serge Ibaka shot 0 for 5 and scored just two points in 12 minutes. He has nine total points in the series so far. … Toronto made 11 turnovers and has 25 in the series, compared to nine by the Cavs. … Lowry led Toronto with eight assists.
Game 3 is Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.
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