LeBron James expects to see Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love bounce back after their rough shooting nights helped the Toronto Raptors grab game three and cut the Cleveland Cavaliers’ series lead to 2-1.
Irving took a string of contested shots on the way to a 3-for-19, 13-point effort, while Love managed just three points on 1-for-9 shooting, with most of those wide open.
But James, who scored 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting, preferred to put a positive spin on their struggles and insisted that it would be a different story in game four.
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A GOOD THING
“I think it’s good for them – first little adversity, first [adversity] individually in a long time,” he said. “I think they’ll be much better obviously on Monday, but it’s good for them.
“When someone is not shooting the ball extremely well – obviously we don’t want two of our big guys not to shoot the ball – it’s going to be difficult for us to pull the game out like that.
“J.R. [Smith, 22 points] did a great job of trying to pick the slack up for both Kyrie and Kev,” James added. “But those guys will be better. They’ll watch the film, and they’ll be much better on Monday.”
The Cavaliers had dominated the second quarters of games one and two, but saw Toronto score 33 points in the second frame of game three. The Raptors led by 13 points at half-time and stretched their advantage to 18 in the third quarter.
James certainly was not in panic mode after the 99-84 loss, but he did point to other areas where Cleveland came up short in game three.
“I think early on at the start of the game we weren’t as physical as we should have been, especially coming into a building that we knew we had to be a bit more physical in,” James said, in contrast to Toronto head coach Dwane Casey’s comments about the Cavaliers’ fouls going unpunished.
“Understanding they were going to play with a lot of speed, a lot of force, we didn’t start the game as physical as we should have at the point of attack. Also, I think we lost track of some of our keys that we came into the game with and it allowed us to kind of get sidetracked throughout the course of the game.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board, not fix everything, just fix a few things.”