After drubbing the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night, the Cavaliers are looking downright unbeatable with a 9-0 record this postseason to show for it.
The Cavs are rolling, and James and Kyrie Irving are a big reason why.
James scored 24 points and Irving, the team's leading scorer this postseason, had 27 as the Cavs made just seven 3-pointers but shot 55.4 percent and scored 56 points in the paint.
"(Tuesday) they wanted us to be in the paint," James said. "We tried to take advantage of that. I keep telling you we're not a jump-shooting team. We're a balanced team. We're able to do whatever the game dictates, and we're able to adjust to that."
"It's one game," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of the 115-84 loss Tuesday. "It's just one game."
Kyle Lowry, the Raptors' All-Star point guard, continued a wildly erratic postseason. He was 4-of-14 shooting and spent most of the second half on the bench with his head in a towel.
Lowry is vital to any chance the Raptors have to pull off the playoff upset. He had a career-high 43 against the Cavs in a February victory at Air Canada Centre. Neither Lowry nor Demar DeRozan attempted a free throw Tuesday. With Lowry on the bench, the Raptors got little from Cory Joseph, who struggled at both ends of the court.
"We've got to come out of the gate with that mindset, being aggressive like we usually do," Lowry said. "I think we didn't try to do that until later on in the game."
DeMarre Carroll had a strong record defending James entering Tuesday's game but was manhandled in the paint in Game 1. James set a playoff-career best going 11 of 13 from the floor (84.6 percent).
James' first nine baskets came near the restricted area and attempted only one shot -- a 3 from the wing -- outside of the paint. Cleveland went inside after averaging nearly 17 3-pointers per game through the first two playoff rounds. The Cavs led by as many as 35 in the fourth quarter. But James wanted to give the credit to Irving.
"He's grown," James said. "Every single day, every single week, month over these past two years, becoming a leader, a staple of this team."
Casey thought the defensive rotations broke down once the Raptors denied the Cavs 3-point looks.
"We've got to continue to keep those (3-pointers) down, work to keep those down, and also at the same time make sure we understand and be disciplined as far as how we take away their roll guy," Casey said. "Because I thought that hurt us, especially in the second quarter."
The sweeps in each of the first two rounds meant the Cavs played just eight games in the last 33 days, while the Raptors were stretched to seven games in each of their first two series. All the time off has done little to disrupt Cleveland's rhythm. It might have sapped the Raptors of some of their bounce, but Thursday is the time to rediscover it, or the Raptors will be down 2-0 heading home in their first-ever Eastern Conference final appearance.
"I thought they were quicker than us tonight, and the reasons are not important. It's not an excuse," Casey said. "It's one game. But they were the quicker team, and we've got to make adjustments of how we want to combat that quickness."