The Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 105-103 at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, as Cleveland’s four-time MVP nailed his second buzzer-beating game-winner of the 2018 playoffs.
With the score tied at 103 and eight seconds remaining, Cleveland used its final timeout to set up the last possession of regulation. Inbounding from under their own basket, the Cavaliers opted to give James a full head of steam running up the court at the Raptors’ defense.
James, who was shadowed by rookie OG Anunoby on the play, drove to the left side of the court, crossing over from right to left to turn the corner toward the baseline. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, James elevated while still on the move, banking in a pretty one-legged runner as time expired.
“I had to get open,” James told the ABC broadcast. “We had no more timeouts. I had to get open. I was able to hit a floater off the glass. [The Raptors] gave us everything they had and more. We can play so much better but that’s a gutsy win. … It’s my job to close it.”
James finished with a game-high 38 points (on 14-26 shooting), six rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Love added 21 points and 16 rebounds for Cleveland. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 27 points and seven assists.
Earlier in the postseason, he won Game 5 against the Pacers in the first round with a deep three-pointer going to his left.
Cleveland now holds a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals series. The Cavaliers can close out the Raptors in Game 4, set for Monday in Cleveland.