The hardships of his reunion with Cleveland Cavaliers are gone. LeBron James is playing MVP-like basketball for some time now, leading his team to an East-shaking victory over the supposed best, Toronto Raptors.
James scored 24 and added 13 assists in 105-91 win over the Raptors, the team with the best record in the Eastern conference. In the Cavs’ six consecutive wins he’s averaging 10.2 assists per game, fully embracing his role as the team’s de facto point guard, which doesn’t stop him from scoring. He only takes away the attention from himself and gives others the opportunity to decide the game with points. He still led the team.
Tristan Thompson scored 21 points off the bench while both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love added 15. The big difference James might be making in their lives isn’t necessarily his ability on the floor, but his know-how in big games. It might be a bit silly to call a game ‘playoff-like’ this early in the season, but for players who have never been used to games with meaning, games that decide top spots in conference and have at best been battling for the final playoff spots, there’s a big difference.
The Cavaliers didn’t just look slick on offense thanks to James. They held the Raptors to just 40.7% from the field, as they continue to struggle without DeMar DeRozan. Amir Johnson had a very good game with 27 points and Kyle Lowry scored 22 points to go with 9 assists, but he shot just 7-of-18 from the field while Greivis Vasquez is fitting in less well when it comes to playing in the lineup, shooting just 2-of-11 from the field.
The Cavaliers are still going to go through bumps and bruises as they become the team expected of them. Their win streak is over Eastern teams, but they’ve been doing it on the road over the last two games, and this win in Toronto suggests that maybe for the first time this season, they’ve reached a level in which they’re no longer depending on LeBron James to do everything on his own for his team to have a big game.