It’s fun to rewind to Cavs’ Game 1 W over Raps in 2017 East Semifinals

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

It’s fun to rewind to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 1 victory over the Toronto Raptors in their 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals series on this May 1 date.

With the 2019-20 season on hiatus for the NBA and it currently being uncertain whether or not the season will eventually resume, for us Cleveland Cavaliers fans, it’s a fun time to look back to recent postseason runs. The squad of course made the NBA Finals in each year of the LeBron James Return Tour, if you will, in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

That culminated in a historic 3-1 comeback over the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, and while injuries played a key role in the Wine and Gold losing to the Warriors in 2015, I’ll give the Dubs credit for their 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals wins.

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Granted, Golden State having Kevin Durant made them virtually unstoppable in those last years, but the Cavs were at least competitive in three of their five games versus Golden State in that 2017 series loss.

In 2018, Cleveland didn’t have Kyrie Irving, who was traded to the Boston Celtics before that season after requesting a trade, and he’s now a Brooklyn Net, along with Durant, too (who was acquired via sign-and-trade).

Anyhow, that 2017 Cavs team was still awesome to watch in the postseason for most of the way, and that included obviously Kevin Love, with flamethrower Kyle Korver in the mix, too, who was an effective floor spacer and still hit 39.1 percent of his three-pointers.

Furthermore, flashing back to May 1, 2017, the then-top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers opened up their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the then-fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors, and the Wine and Gold cruised in that one. It was an especially fun game to watch, though, and the well-rested Cavs had their share of contributors.

LeBron led the way, as was typically the case, as he had 35 points on just 23 shots! The King shot 56.5 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from deep and seven-of-eight from the free throw line, per Basketball Reference.

He also had 10 rebounds, four assists and a masterful block on DeRozan, and as you can see here, it was just too easy for James, as it really was in the series in general, of which Cleveland swept Toronto.

Plus, in the early going, James had an early pass break-up leading to Irving, who then threw it off the glass to James in transition, who finished with the left, and that got the Cleveland home crowd rocking.

Man was I pumped seeing this, as all of us Cavs fans were.

The Wine and Gold went on to keep up that style of energized play leading to plenty of great looks, and ended up taking a 30-18 lead at the end of the first quarter against Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, then-DeMarre Carroll and company.

The Cavs ended up coasting along and closing the half with a 62-48 lead too, even with Toronto having a 30-point second quarter, and the pressure Irving was continually putting on the Raps’ defense was immense.

In the third quarter, the Wine and Gold ended up extending their lead, and by the end of that one, the inside-out offense was cruising along with little resistance. Through three, the Cavaliers had a 96-74 lead, and though Lowry and DeRozan ended up combining for 39 points and Lowry himself had 11 assists, this one was not a game to look back on as a Raptors fan.

Again on the other hand as a Cavs fan, it clearly was.

The Wine and Gold ended up winning 116-105, and they moved the ball well with 26 assists, including four from then-backup point guard Deron Williams, and Tristan Thompson was also a huge factor, as he had 11 points, 14 rebounds (including four offensive), to go with two assists and two steals, per Basketball Reference.

Along with that, seven players, including Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert (who was pretty productive defensively, too), ended up hitting three-point shots.

Cleveland ended up hitting 14 triples in this one on a 41.2 percent clip, and just as was the case throughout that 2017 postseason, the inside-out offense was outstanding for Cleveland. It was truly the good ole’ days in that way, and overall, this was one is just a fun game to rewind to as a Cavs fan with James, Irving and company on fire.

Additionally, the Raps (sorry Toronto fans) were beaten by James and the Cavs in three consecutive postseasons from 2016-2018, two of which were sweeps.

Thankfully for Toronto, though, they did go for it by acquiring Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs via trade package most notably involving DeRozan before last season.

From there, the Raptors did go on to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the then-top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Warriors (who were objectively short-handed) in the 2019 NBA Finals. Leonard’s no longer a Raptor and is now on the LA Clippers, but the Raps are still one of the league’s best squads.

Either way, this 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 1 victory on this May 1 date is a really fun one to look back on as a Cleveland Cavaliers fan at this time with the 2019-20 season on hiatus due to concerns involving the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Next. Looking back at 3 great LeBron James East Semifinals games with Cavs. dark

That’s maybe even more so the case with LeBron now being a Los Angeles Laker and the Cavs now rebuilding, though young pieces like Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. are promising.