sportreff nba lebron
sportreff nba lebron
Another year, another knockout thanks to The King.

The Toronto Raptors have been eliminated from the NBA play-offs by LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers for the third year running. It’s all getting a little bit deja vu.

The Cavaliers won four straight matches in a best-of-seven play-off semi-final against the Canadian team, who beat their record number of wins this season.

But the Raptors were no match for Cleveland’s 33-year-old talisman, whose final-second basket confirmed the Cavs’ place in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

“There’s no hiding it – LeBron James is a beast,” says Matt Shearer, who runs the Toronto Raptors UK fan page.

Matt’s had some late nights over the bank holiday weekend to catch the matches – so was understandably disappointed come Tuesday morning.

“For the third year, the Cleveland Cavaliers have knocked us out in four games,” he tells Newsbeat.

“This year it was a big disappointment because we did so well in the regular season.

“The fans all thought there’d be big things this year.”

But one man had different ideas.

LeBron proved why he’s called The King throughout the four matches – but his best shot came in the final few seconds of game three.

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With eight seconds to go, Toronto’s British rookie OG Anunoby scored a three-pointer to take it to 103-103.

“I was on the edge of my seat for that one,” says Matt.

“It came down to: ‘Right, we have to stop them from scoring’.”

Then LeBron took the ball.

“Unfortunately the rest is history,” Matt says.

He dribbled the length of the court, netting from the left as the buzzer went.

It showed the only difference between the two teams in that match was LeBron.

What’s also disappointing for Matt is that the Raptors beat the Cavaliers in the regular season by about 30 points.

“They’ve suddenly stepped up. Whether that’s the LeBron factor, who knows – I think a lot of it is psychological.”

Matt thinks the Raptors’ tactics were to try and take LeBron out of the game.

“But the other guys in the Cavaliers stepped it up as well.”

Meanwhile, it sounds like the Cavaliers’ tactics were simple – their coach Tyronn Lue said on Sunday: “You just get the ball to Bron at the end of the game.”

Surprisingly, Matt hopes to draw the Cavaliers again next year – so they can get their own back after being eliminated by the Ohio team for three years running.

But can the Toronto Raptors avoid being knocked out for a fourth straight year?

“It all depends if LeBron stays.”