Why Stephen A. Smith Believes 'Rough Rider' Celtics Can Beat LeBron James

LeBron James Klay Thompson Mychal Thompson

Crunch time? He's captain crunch.

"I was on the edge of my seat for that one", says Matt.

The Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to their 4th straight Eastern Conference Finals with a crushing 128-93 win over the Toronto Raptors as they swept them for the 2nd year in a row.

Dribbling the length of the floor while outmaneuvering a Toronto defense created to stop him, James got to a spot where he felt comfortable, rose off his left foot and with his right hand softly dropped a shot he's practiced hundreds of times for this kind of moment.

DeMar DeRozan said that maybe the Cavs just have their numbers. Gliding in the air, James increased the lead to 20 at 75-55 early in the third with a double-pump bank shot that had the crowd oohing.

It was so much more.

LeBron James didn't need almost the playing time or drama called for in Games 1 and 3.

After doing most of the heavy lifting all on his own last series against the Indiana Pacers, James received help this time around.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said the Cavs' defense and all-round offensive display had been crucial factors in the sweep. 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.

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You just don't expect it to go down like that. Following practice last month, James was asked if there was a reason for the team's ability to preserve fourth-quarter leads. And the guys, we're getting a lot of different contributions from a lot of guys.

The London-born forward stuck to James like glue, no matter where he was on the floor. And the King - with norms of 34.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 54.7% from the field - is pretty darn close to upping the ante to a 35-10-9 on 55% shooting.

The statistics, though, are only part of it.

He also sank a key three-pointer - after a nifty pump fake - with eight seconds left in Game 3, to tie the game at 103-103.

"The team just seemed to catch up to LeBron", Pluto said. "I thought we could bounce back, but we didnt". "Great players make great plays". "So for me it was just more than anything it was just me being myself". "It's been impressive to watch".

James was the first player taken in the 2003 draft. James had other plans.

The Raptors needed big games from their All-Star backcourt if they were going to have any choice of returning to Toronto for Game 5. "It's their will to win and making everyone better". The Raptors had the league's second-best record, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, a deeper bench, and in Lowry and DeRozan enough firepower to offset James.

"How does his team grow around him?"

James, Love, and Hill did their thing, but Kyle Korver and JR Smith also played well offensively, leading to all five starters notching at least 12 points in the game.

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