Back home, the Cavaliers were not hospitable. They rudely roughed up the Raptors again.
LeBron James scored 23 points before sitting out the fourth quarter, Kevin Love scored 25, and Cleveland unleashed tenacious defense on Toronto to regain control of the Eastern Conference finals with a 116-78 rout of the Raptors in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
On their court in front of 20,000-plus screaming fans following two straight losses in Canada, the Cavaliers opened a 34-point lead in the first half and never slowed while taking a 3-2 series lead.
They can clinch their second straight conference title and trip to the NBA Finals on Friday night in Toronto.
“We ought to be able to transfer that on Friday,” James said. “Playing in that beast of an arena that we’re going to, we’ve got to be composed, we’ve got to be tough and we’ve got to be sharp.”
James had eight assists and six rebounds in 31 minutes before checking out late in the third quarter with the Cavaliers up 37. He spent the fourth quarter resting on the bench while Cleveland’s reserves finished the romp.
Kyrie Irving, James and Love outscored the Raptors 43-34 in the first half. Cleveland has won its three games in the series by a combined 88 points.
DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points and Kyle Lowry had 13 for the Raptors, who were overwhelmed from the start. Bismack Biyombo had just four rebounds after getting 40 the previous two games. The only positive for Toronto was center Jonas Valanciunas, who returned after missing eight straight games with a sprained right ankle. He scored nine points in 18 minutes.
Love found his shooting touch after it went missing during the lost weekend in Toronto, where he went just five for 23. He finished eight for 10 from the field.