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What’s more, it was the most points a team featuring LeBron James has allowed in a half at any point in his career.
While this was a record-setting performance, this isn’t the first time the Raptors have torched Cleveland’s defense this season. They handled the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions in their first matchup on Jan. 11, 133-99, and have cruised to the best record in the conference.
It is no wonder James admitted Toronto is in a better place than his Cavaliers entering play Wednesday.
“They’re in a better place than we are right now because they’ve had more consistency and they’ve had their guys in the lineup for the majority of the year,” James said, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “So, they know what they want to accomplish. They know who they are at this point in the season. Obviously, you guys know about us, we’re still trying to figure that out.”
The defense is of particular concern for the Cavaliers considering they are an abysmal 28th in the league in defensive rating, per NBA.com.
These two teams appear destined to meet in the postseason, which would suggest trouble for the Raptors considering Cleveland swept them in the second round last year and beat them in six games in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals.
However, this season’s version with the likes of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Fred VanVleet and Jonas Valanciunas has found success against Cleveland’s vulnerable defense and will surely have home-court advantage if they do play in the postseason.