TORONTO — LeBron James had 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, J.R. Smith scored 20 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Toronto Raptors by a score of 113-112 in overtime last night to win Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.
Kyle Korver scored 19 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime of a game that Cleveland never led in regulation. Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have eliminated Toronto in each of the past two postseasons.
Toronto’s Fred VanVleet missed a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds to go in overtime that could have won it for the Raptors, who could not manage to hold on to a 14-point, first-quarter lead.
Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points and 21 rebounds, Kyle Lowry had 18 points and 10 assists, and DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points for the Raptors, who host Game 2 tomorrow night.
Jeff Green scored 16 points and Kevin Love had 13 rebounds for the Cavs.
The Cavaliers beat the Raptors in six games in the Eastern Conference finals in 2016 before going on to win their first NBA championship. Last year, Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round.
Korver’s 3 early in overtime gave the Cavaliers their first lead of the game, 108-105.
Lowry’s three-point play made it 113-112 with 57 seconds to go and, after the Cavs were called for a shot-clock violation, Toronto had one more chance to win, but VanVleet couldn’t come through.
VanVleet was one of four Raptors to miss in the final seconds of regulation. Toronto got four looks at the potential winning basket on their next possession but missed all four, including a wide-open 3 by VanVleet, giving Cleveland the ball with 0.6 seconds remaining. Green inbounded to James, but his shot bounced off the rim.
The Raptors shot 5 for 24 in the fourth quarter, with Valanciunas missing six of seven attempts.
DeRozan scored 11 points in the first, connecting on five of eight attempts, and Lowry had eight points and five assists as Toronto led 33-19. James was 3 of 5 in the first but the rest of the Cavs shot 4 for 18.
James, who averaged more than 41 minutes in Cleveland’s first-round series against Indiana, checked out with 3:31 left in the first. With James on the bench, the Cavs scored two points the rest of the quarter.
Green and Smith each scored 11 points in the second quarter and the Cavs found their shooting stroke, connecting on 14 of 22 attempts. James had five assists in the period as Cleveland cut the deficit to 60-57 at halftime.
VanVleet took exception to a shove from James at the end of one play and made an attempt to get at the Cavs star, but was restrained by teammates.
Valanciunas had 13 points and eight rebounds in the third, but Korver scored 10 points and James had eight to keep the Cavs close. Toronto led 87-82 heading to the fourth.
Meanwhile in Oakland, Stephen Curry returned from an injury lay-off to lead Golden State Warriors to a 121-116 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series.
The two-time winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player Award checked in with 4 minutes 20 seconds left in the first quarter, and the Warriors trailing by 18-11. But by the end of the first half, thanks to Curry’s sharpshooting and a last-second 3-pointer by Klay Thompson, Golden State had a 58-55 lead. It was more of the same in the second half, with Golden State looking like a far superior team whenever Curry was on the court, even with Thompson having a mostly awful night offensively.
When all was said and done, Curry had shot 8 for 15 from the field, 5 for 10 from 3-point range, and he had scored 28 points, which trailed only Kevin Durant’s 29 for the game-high. Curry appeared to move well on his injured knee, contributing seven rebounds and three steals to go with his solid shooting. The Warriors needed every bit of it, as the team outscored the Pelicans by 26 points in Curry’s 27 minutes on the floor and were outscored by 11 in the 21 minutes he was on the bench.
Golden State now holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and will travel to New Orleans for Friday’s Game 3.