Title: Breaking down LeBron James’ game-winner and a few other notes from the Raptors’ Game 3 loss
Date: May 6, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at what the Raptors could have done differently on LeBron James’ game-winner and made a few other Game 3 tactical notes that don’t matter much at this point.
Make anyone else beat you.
The Raptors’ base strategy against LeBron James throughout this second-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers has run counter to that. No matter how hot he gets, the Raptors want to guard James one-on-one as best they can.
In Game 1, they effectively turned him into more of a playmaker. In Game 2, he went off, but he went off shooting the type of shots a defence just has to live with. In Game 3, the Raptors dialled the physicality up even further, appearing to frustrate James for sustained stretches.
OG Anunoby has done as good a job as anyone could hope. Pascal Siakam is a little more overmatched and has still done as well as the team can ask. Through three games, the primary issue with the Raptors’ defence has been mistakes outside of the James match-up, with a ton of low-hanging fruit dangling painfully in retrospect after a one-point overtime loss and a two-point loss again Saturday.
Asked after Game 3 why teams don’t double-team James, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said: “They shouldn’t.”