After winning his fourth championship in more of a floor general role, it’s time to review each series the Toronto Raptors and LeBron James battled against each other and see the various styles LeBron had.
Whether you like him or not, there is no arguing that LeBron James is one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. As Toronto Raptors fans, we got to be a victim of his greatness far too many times. For three straight years, no matter how good the Raptors were, the same obstacle was in the way.
But always in vastly different shapes. What I mean by that is the style of play he had in every series was different. The 2016 LeBron is in no way the same shape or player he was in 2017 or 2018. He dominated the paint in 2016 like no other, while in 2017 he was as lethal from outside the paint.
There’s much more to it, and we’ll review all three series of the infamous “LeBronto” era. Commencing with the first one in 2016.
The “interior minister” beats Toronto Raptors in 6 games in 2016
This was actually the longest series of the three despite LeBron being an unstoppable force around the rim. For LeBron, his defenders looked like traffic cones and he got everything he wanted. Going to the rim at will, where 61 percent of his shots were taken at an insane rate of 82 percent.
LeBron statline in 2016 vs Raptors – 24.6 PTS/8 REB/6.8 AST/2.2 STL/63.2 FG%
LeBron would take Games 1 & 2 in dominating fashion until there was a brief moment of belief for Toronto Raptors fans when they were able to take two games at home; tying the series at 2-2 apiece.
After the failure of having any impact outside the paint in the first four games for LeBron and the Raptors doing a better job of clogging the paint. This is when LeBron’s outside shot finally came to life. LeBron found his shooting rhythm and it sealed the Raptors fate for good after having no answer for that and losing Games 5 & 6 in upsetting fashion.
Toronto Raptors review
On paper, this seemed like probably the weakest Raptors roster to face LeBron James. It was the only team to actually win games against the Cavs nonetheless. The play of DeMar DeRozan who had himself one of his better series averaging 23 points with an efficiency of 50 percent from the field and 90.9 percent from the free throw.
Kyle Lowry also played really well, but besides them, they had no help. Guys like DeMarre Carroll, Patrick Patterson, Bismack Biyombo, and a 35-year-old Luis Scola as a starter was never going to get them past LeBron. It’s a miracle that both Lowry and DeRozan even snatched two games here.