Forward step: LeBron, Cavs pushed to limit but not done yet

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In the regular season, Anunoby - who tore his ACL playing for IN in January of 2017 and slipped to the 23rd pick of the draft as a result - emerged as Dwane Casey's primary choice to defend James.

"There's not one right way or wrong way - if he's scoring on it, it's not right - but there's one thing that they're gonna live with and go with", Casey said. But I like to think it is. It's incredible the type of condition he's in.

James Harden scored a game-high 41 points, and the Houston Rockets turned a blistering first half into a 110-96 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Toyota Centre in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series. He finished the pivotal Game 7 with 45 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and four steals in 43 minutes.

"I'm not saying he's a lying man but I don't think he's exhausted", Casey said. "As long as we approach that with that confidence, we'll be all right".

"It felt like a Game 7", James said.

More than anything, the Raptors face the eternal basketball dilemma of whether to load up to stop a star or let said star go off and neutralize his teammates. Or past year, when the Cavs got a week off while waiting for Toronto to complete a six-game victory over Milwaukee in the opening round. Before shooting a three over Serge Ibaka, he brashly spun the ball first. Unfortunately, the Raptors lost 132-129.

There's an aura about LeBron. And since it will nearly surely be a topic of conversation throughout the series, Casey is already warning his team not to get distracted by the officiating.

"Nobody thought we were going to be here", Oladipo said. Jordan respected that, Karl Malone, those guys, Kobe Bryant, those great ones they respect you coming at 'em.

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There's also Pascal Siakam, who has length, athleticism and quick feet and other options.

"I'm pretty confident", he said. During the regular season, DeMar DeRozan averaged 17.7 points and 6.7 assists vs. the Cavaliers and Kyle Lowry 14.5 points and 7.3 assists in two games. If the Raptors are going to finally find a way to overcome LeBron James, they'll need to get over some serious mental hurdles.

As Game 1 approaches, the Raptors are six-point home favorites which means that, in all likelihood, Toronto claims Game 1 and puts the Cavs on their collective heels from jump street. Toronto's defence, at fifth in the league in the regular season, is significantly better than in (14th). The second worst out of 185 cities in the state.

The Raptors have had the same luck with Cleveland.

"To have to go through a tough series against a team that played really well, it doesn't guarantee us to be better in the next series, but it helps us".

Lue, meanwhile, changed his starting lineup for the fourth time in this series by playing James at the point and inserting Tristan Thompson, who went from out of the rotation to 15 points and 10 rebounds'. James is averaging a near triple double in this series, but even those numbers might not be enough to hold off the Pacers.

"He's on a mission".

This - guarding him with as little help as possible - would seem to make the most sense based on the available quantitative and anecdotal data. "But I don't want to sit up here and give away our game plan, what we wanna do, how we wanna do it, what we wanna take away, what we wanna give them, that wouldn't be prudent on my part".

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