Try as they might, the Toronto Raptors simply could not stop LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
In the 125-103 loss, the Raptors watched as the superstar forward put up a game-high 39 points to go with six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
After the game, which gave Cleveland a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series, Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan was searching for answers.
According to ESPN.com, DeRozan told reporters that he's willing to offer up some money to anyone who can slow down LeBron during key situations:
"If you can find somebody to stop LeBron in these moments," DeRozan said, "I'll give you $100."
As DeRozan notes, it's not just that James puts up big numbers, it's that he does it when it matters most. LeBron has the ball in his hands when the game is on the line and, more often than not, makes the right play.
DeRozan, meanwhile, couldn't get anything going on Wednesday night. He finished with a playoff-low five points on 2-of-11 shooting and said he can't wait to get back on the court on Friday night to try to make amends for his abysmal performance:
"It sucks. It sucks. To lose like we did and play like I did sucks. It's frustrating," DeRozan said. "Now just have the idle time of having to wait until Friday night [Game 3] to redeem yourself."
After the Milwaukee Bucks held DeRozan to eight points in Game 3 of their first-round series, he rebounded to score 33 in Toronto's Game 4 victory, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Toronto star could go off on Friday night.
However, he's not facing the Bucks anymore - LeBron is just as impressive on the defensive end of the floor as he is offensively. If DeRozan is going to get the bad taste of his Game 2 letdown out of his mouth, he's going to need to work even harder than he did in the first round.
During the regular season, DeRozan averaged 27.3 points per game. The Raptors desperately need him to return to that form in Game 3 if they're going to have even a sliver of a chance to win.
With fellow star guard Kyle Lowry now nursing an injured ankle, time may have already run out on the Raptors' season. A rested and motivated LeBron against a worn out and banged up Toronto team is a recipe for disaster for the Raptors and their fans.