Washington: LeBron James scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and passed out 11 assists Thursday to power the Cleveland Cavaliers over Toronto 108-89, improving their playoff record to 10-0.
The Cavaliers, who swept through the first two playoff rounds, seized a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals with game three Saturday at Toronto.
Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 26 points and Kevin Love added 19 for Cleveland, whose run is one shy of the NBA record playoff start of 11-0 achieved by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989 and 2001.
The Cavaliers are two wins from facing the Western Conference champion, either Oklahoma City or defending NBA champion Golden State, in the NBA Finals that begin on June 2.
Cleveland lost to Golden State in last year’s NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers have led by 10 or more points throughout the entire second half in each of the first two games.
“We’re just a well-balanced, (well-)oiled machine,” James said. “You have to do multiple things depending on how the series and the games go and we’ve been able to do that.”
The playoff victory was Cleveland’s 17th in a row over foes from the same conference, the longest NBA streak since 1970-71.
James, seeking a sixth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals after four years with Miami and last year with the Cavs, is hitting 18-of-26 from the field, able to get inside and dominate the Raptors.
“Great teammates are getting me open,” James said. “I’m trying to be aggressive, see what the defense is giving me. Everyone is feeding off one another.”
The Cavaliers closed the second quarter with a 16-2 run to seize a 62-48 half-time edge and dominated the second half.
James had 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the first half.
The Raptors, led by DeMar DeRozan’s 22 points, suffered their first back-to-back losses of the playoffs.