The only thing better than one of the greatest individual postseason runs in NBA history through nine games is doing it with a perfect manicure.
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James demonstrated this perfectly on Thursday night, taking time during the Cavaliers’ Game 2 victory over the Toronto Raptors to sit on the bench and clip his nails.
It should be noted that this short respite didn’t affect his performance in the game. He still scored 43 points on 19-of-28 shooting with 14 assists and eight rebounds.
The camera did not record what James was saying on the bench as he helped ensure that silky-smooth grip on the ball that has allowed him to dish out 81 assists thus far in the playoffs.
Nor did it provide grooming tips for the Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan, who basically watched James beat him at his own game. James shot only three three-pointers, making just one, but owned the mid-range game that is usually DeRozan’s trademark.
The Raptors’ star was 11-of-23 from the field and 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. He hit just two free throws for a wildly inefficient 24 points on those 23 shots.
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols pointed out that James’ actions on the sidelines could be seen as his way of disrespecting the Raptors.
But the Cavaliers have now won eight straight games against the Raptors in the playoffs dating back to the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals, and five of those eight have been on the road.
Cleveland swept Toronto in the conference semifinals in 2017 after getting past the Indiana Pacers with four close wins in the first round.
And history looks set to repeat itself, as the Cavs beat the Pacers with four squeaker wins in the first round this year. The difference here was that Indiana won three games and took the overall series point differential.
Now, the Cavaliers are headed back to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland with a chance to sweep the series on their home floor and prepare for the winner of the Celtics-76ers series. If indeed history is set to once again repeat itself, they will face Boston in the conference finals and possibly Golden State for all the marbles, their exact trajectory in 2017.
So of course James will disrespect the Raptors; until they prove themselves worthy of respect by actually winning a game, they’re just a speed bump on his road to setting unbreakable playoff career records.
Last year, also on May 3, James spun the ball right in Raptor forward Serge Ibaka’s face. Disrespecting the Raptors is as much a part of early May in Cleveland as planting bush beans in the garden.
James has been absolutely amazing in the playoffs against the Raptors, scoring more than 260 points in his last eight wins against them.
And Thursday in Game 2, he did it while looking fabulous.
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