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May 8, 2017
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To no one's surprise, the Cleveland Cavaliers have swept the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, following the closest game in the four-game series, 109-102.

LeBron James, who had his usual monster line of 35-9-6, will be headed to the Eastern Conference Finals for the seventh consecutive year. The defending champions are still waiting for the outcome of the Boston Celtics-Washington Wizards semifinal matchup—currently tied at two games apiece—to know who will be their opponent next round.

Even before the series began, the odds were stacked against the Raptors, despite the high-profile acquisitions of Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker before the trade deadline. But there were clear signs of their looming extinction as each game unfolded, which FHM sums up in five statistics.


36
LeBron's scoring average in the series

These sound bites illustrate how valuable the four-time MVP is to his team:

"If we had LeBron on our team, too, we woulda won." —DeMar DeRozan

"Anytime you got number 23, you can flip every switch you want to... he's the difference." —Raptors coach Dwane Casey

"I've been playing at the best for quite a while now. Since I was about 16." —James


8.5 to 1.8
Kyrie Irving's assist-to-turnover ratio

The Robin to LeBron's Batman reached double figures in dimes during Cleveland's homestand, and had nine in Game 4 clincher. More importantly, Irving took care of the ball better once they hit the road, committing just a single TO in each of their last two matches.

25
Total three-point field goals of the Cavaliers bench, compared to only 10 for Toronto

With Kevin Love not up to his usual standard, reserves Channing Frye and Kyle Korver stepped up to the plate, particularly in in long distance. The stretch big man had five makes from downtown in Game 2 for 18 points, while the deadly sharpshooter waxed hot in Games 3 and 4, converting four each outing.


3
Times Casey tweaked the starting lineup

This meant that the Raptors tactician was scrambling for answers and searching for the right combination all series long. In part this may be because of losing All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry to injury in Game 2, but you know something's wrong when you have to shuffle nine different players for the opening tip.


Another 36

Cleveland's advantage over Toronto in foul shots, 107 to 71

The Raptors weren't able to impose their presence in the paint, but instead were bamboozled by the Cavaliers by turning the former's physicality against them. James accounted for a whopping half of that number, taking 54 shots from the charity stripe and making 45. Toronto's mid-tier defensive rating (eighth, 107.9) wasn't much of a help versus the No. 1 offense in the playoffs (117.0).

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