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RECAP: Cleveland Cavaliers take 2-0 lead over Toronto Raptors with dominant Game 2 win

The Cleveland Cavaliers took a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors with a dominant 128-110 win in Game 2 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre Thursday night.
Credit: John E. Sokolowski
Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson goes up for a shot in the lane against Toronto Raptors center Jakob Poeltl in Game 1 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

8:31 p.m.-CAVALIERS TAKE 2-0 LEAD OVER RAPTORS WITH DOMINANT GAME 2 PERFORMANCE

The Cleveland Cavaliers needed just one win at the Air Canada Centre to take away home-court advantage from the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors, and they did one better in the first two games of the East Semifinals.

With a dominant 128-110 Game 2 win over the Raptors in Toronto Thursday night, the Cavaliers bring a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series back to Cleveland, where they will host Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

Cavaliers small forward LeBron James led the team with 43 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds over 40 minutes of action in the Game 2 win, and he got plenty of help from the supporting cast, namely center Kevin Love, shooting guard JR Smith, reserve forward Jeff Green and point guard George Hill.

Love registered a double-double with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Smith (15 points), Green (14) and Hill (13) also finished in double figures for the Cavaliers.

Check out Dave "Dino" DeNatale's 'instant reaction' after the game on WKYC's Facebook Live

7:59 p.m.-CAVALIERS LEAD BY 11 AFTER THIRD QUARTER

Third-quarter lull?

What third-quarter lull?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have become known for their third-quarter struggles, but that was anything but the case against the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre in Toronto Thursday night.

The Cavaliers outscored the Raptors, 37-24, in the third quarter and took a 98-87 lead into the fourth period.

Cavaliers small forward LeBron James carried over his second-quarter success into the third and scored 15 points on seven-of-10 shooting, with one of those seven makes coming on a fade-away shot from beyond the three-point arc.

As a team, the Cavaliers knocked down 16 of their 22 looks from the field (72.7 percent) and four of their seven attempts from three-point range (57.1 percent) in the third quarter.

7:42 p.m.-CAVALIERS CONTINUE SECOND-HALF SURGE

The Toronto Raptors came out of a timeout and scored on a hook shot from center Jonas Valanciunas, but it was nearly all Cleveland Cavaliers over the next two-plus minutes in the third quarter of Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre.

Following the hook shot from Valanciunas, the Cavaliers went on a 10-3 run and took a 79-68 lead with 7:50 to play in the third quarter.

First, there was a three-pointer from shooting guard JR Smith, and then, a driving layup from small forward LeBron James, which gave the Cavaliers a 74-68 advantage over the Raptors, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Cavaliers center Kevin Love made it a nine-point advantage when he caught the ball on the left wing, pump-faked forward OG Anunoby out of the way and buried the three-pointer. Love started the play with a steal in the key and outleted the ball to Smith in transition. After taking a bounce pass from Smith, James skipped a pass over to Love for the three-pointer.

A driving layup from point guard George Hill gave the Cavaliers an 11-point lead and forced the Raptors into taking their second timeout of the half.

7:34 p.m.-CAVALIERS HAVE FAST START TO THIRD QUARTER

The Cleveland Cavaliers came out of the locker room with the point to prove, and they stormed out to a 69-63 lead over the Toronto Raptors less than two minutes into the third quarter of Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The 8-0 run started on a slick bounce pass to shooting guard JR Smith, who was cutting to the middle of the floor from the left wing while catching the ball. After securing the pass, Smith continued his drive to the hoop, got a floating layup to drop and drew a foul.

The ensuing free throw gave the Cavaliers a 64-63 lead.

On the Cavaliers’ next possession, James hit a pull-up jumper and extended the lead out to three points.

Then, after center Kevin Love drew a charging foul on Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry, shooting guard Kyle Korver buried a three-pointer, and three seconds later, the Raptors’ bench signaled for a timeout, their first of the second half.

7:16 p.m.-LEBRON JAMES BURIES BUZZER-BEATER, CAVS TRAIL BY TWO AT HALF

With time winding down in the first half of Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre, small forward LeBron James did what he does best, shine in the spotlight and come up big for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James dribbled to the top of the free-throw circle, pulled up over the defense of Toronto guard CJ Miles and buried a jumper that beat the buzzer and drew the Cleveland Cavaliers to within a basket of the Raptors, 63-61, at halftime.

Despite giving up shots to get center Kevin Love going early in Game 2, James surged in the second quarter and scored a game-high 12 points on his way to 16 for the half. Love matched Toronto guard Kyle Lowry with 18 first-half points.

7:00 p.m.-RAPTORS ANSWER CAVS’ THREES WITH TRIPLES OF THEIR OWN

The Cleveland Cavaliers found their three-point shot early in the second quarter of Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre Tuesday night, but as luck would have it, so did the Toronto Raptors.

The Cavaliers had a pair of three-pointers from reserve forward Jeff Green and one from center Kevin Love, but the Raptors got one each from point guard Kyle Lowry and backup guard Fred VanVleet, which pushed their advantage up to nine points, 54-45, with 4:50 to play in the second quarter.

Love’s three-pointer from the left wing got the Cavaliers to within five points, 48-43, with 6:36 to play in the first half, but the triples from Lowry and VanVleet jumped the lead up to its highest point of the game.

6:42 p.m.-CAVALIERS TRAIL RAPTORS, 29-26, AFTER FIRST QUARTER

Unlike their slow start in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Cleveland Cavaliers nearly matched the Toronto Raptors, basket for basket, over the first quarter of play in Game 2 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Thursday night.

Despite being off the mark with all three of their three-point attempts, the Cavaliers made 10 of their 19 tries inside the arc and trailed the Raptors, who hit a pair of triples over the first 12 minutes of play, by just three points, 29-26, after the first quarter.

Cavaliers center Kevin Love led the way offensively with 10 points on four-of-nine shooting, while Toronto’s backcourt combination of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 19 points, nine and 10 respectively.

6:24 p.m.-KEVIN LOVE MAKES CIRCUS-STYLE SHOT

Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love has struggled offensively throughout the 2018 NBA Playoffs, but the team made a concerted effort to establish him early in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and he returned the favor with an unlikely, but no-less-effective shot in the first quarter.

With Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan defending Love in the extended post after a defensive switch, the Cavaliers’ big man worked his way toward the hoop and tried to draw a foul while putting up an off-balance shot.

While there was no foul called on the play, Love got a friendly carom off the backboard at the Air Canada Centre and converted the reverse layup.

Kevin Love drops in the circus shot!#WhateverItTakes

📺: @ESPNNBA pic.twitter.com/8FG0GsHGTD

— NBA (@NBA) May 3, 2018

Despite the circus-like shot, the Cavaliers trailed the Raptors, 25-20, at the 2:56 mark of the first quarter.

6:20 p.m.-RAPTORS, CAVALIERS TRADE EARLY BASKETS

Unlike the fast start the Toronto Raptors had in Game 1, they traded early baskets with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre Thursday night.

Despite knocking down five of their first 11 looks at the basket in Game 2, the Raptors held a slim 12-10 lead over the Cavaliers with 6:58 to play in the first quarter.

Knowing that center Kevin Love is an integral part in the game plan, the Cavaliers got him the ball early and although he was off the mark with four of his first six shots, the two-time Eastern Conference All-Star had a team-high four points at the first break in the action.

6:00 p.m.-GAME INFORMATION

Despite limited rest and preparation time, the Cleveland Cavaliers stole Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night, and they look to do more of the same in Game 2 tonight.

A win over the Raptors will give the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and make it eight straight playoff wins over Toronto dating back to the 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

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