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James continues to climb NBA playoff scoring chart as Cavs rout Raptors, 125-103

By MICHAEL BEAVEN • May 3, 2017 at 10:28 PM


CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers delivered the birthday gift coach Tyronn Lue asked for on Wednesday night — a victory — and in the process LeBron James continued to climb the NBA playoff scoring list.

James scored 39 points, passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second in all-time postseason scoring and guided the Cavs to a 125-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavs hold a 2-0 lead over the Raptors as the series moves to Toronto on Friday.

A sellout crowd of 20,562 witnessed James put together another memorable performance. He made 10 of 14 field goals (including 4 of 6 3-pointers) and 15 of 21 free throws in 36 minutes. He also had six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

James now has 5,777 points in the playoffs and trails only Michael Jordan (5,987) in career playoff points. Abdul-Jabbar is third (5,762).

Lue celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday, and left the Q with four players in double figures: James (39 points), Kyrie Irving (22 points, career playoff-high 11 assists), Channing Frye (18 points) and Iman Shumpert (14 points).

Jonas Valanciunas paced the Raptors with 23 points and five rebounds. Cory Joseph scored 22 points, Kyle Lowry scored 20 points and Serge Ibaka added in 16 points.

Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson combined for 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Cavs.

James is the only player in NBA playoff history to rank in the top 10 in points (second, 5,777), rebounds (seventh, 1,813) and assists (third, 1,392).

Additionally on the playoff chart, James is tied for ninth in games (205), is second in made free throws (1,399), third in steals (370), fourth in made field goals (2,038) and fourth in made 3-pointers (302).

The Cavs put together a 12-0 run to take a 19-9 lead with 5:54 to go in the first quarter. J.R. Smith capped the surge with a 3-pointer on a possession that featured nifty passing by James, Irving and Smith. Love scored five points during the spurt and Irving accounted for four points.

The lead reached 31-18 on a 3-pointer by Frye and stood at 34-22 at the end of the first quarter when Shumpert made a jumper. Cleveland hit 5 of 5 shots from 3-point range in the opening 12 minutes, and shot 70.6 percent (12 of 17) from the field and 83.3 percent (5 of 6) from the free-throw line.

The Cavs' 3-point shooting continued to be perfect early in the second quarter as Frye made one from beyond the arc and James made two at 8:00 and 7:30, respectively. James' second 3 gave the Cavs a 49-35 advantage, and was the 300th in his playoff career.

Valanciunas and Lowry briefly kept the Raptors within striking distance in the second quarter with nine points and eight points in the quarter, respectively, but the Cavs led 62-48 at halftime after Irving and Shumpert each made a 3. The Cavs made 10 of 15 from deep in the first half.

The Cavs maintained a comfortable advantage in the third quarter, with the lead reaching 72-54 at 8:58 and 75-57 at 8:41 after James made two 3-pointers. The second 3 propelled him past Abdul-Jabbar on the playoff scoring list.

James closed out the third with seven free throws and a powerful right-handed slam dunk off of a behind-the-back pass from Irving. James scored 17 points in the third quarter and the Cavs led 99-73 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Raptors opened the fourth with two buckets, but the Cavs answered with a 3 by Kyle Korver, two free throws by James and a 3 by Frye to make it 107-77 with 9:31 to go.

James exited with 6:10 to go after splitting a pair of free throws and the Cavs up 113-85.

The Cavs made 18 of 33 shots from 3-point range, and the Raptors were 5 of 17 from deep.


(c)2017 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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