The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in the midst of a longer-than-expected offseason after Donovan Mitchell and Co. were upset in the first round by the fifth-seeded New York Knicks. However, fans seeking respite from dwelling on what might have been can still look back on the LeBron James-Kyrie Irving glory days for a quick pick-me-up.
To that end, Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George and DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls just served up an incredible walk down memory lane for the Wine and Gold faithful during the May 15 episode of the former’s podcast. Clearly, though, the memories are far less rosy for George and DeRozan themselves.
During the chat, DeRozan was asked if there was a play that stood out to him from his playoff battles with James and the Cavaliers when he was still suiting up for the Toronto Raptors. Not only did the six-time All-Star have a specific play at the ready but he also singled it out as the moment he knew his days in Toronto were numbered.
“I think the play that sticks out to me is Game 3, my last year in Toronto (2018), [James] went full court, shot the one-legged floater and made it. That was it. That was, like, the end of my time in Toronto,” DeRozan said. “We was down 3-0 — obviously we lost Game 4 — but I just remember, ’cause I was out the game, and I just remember him shooting that one-legged floater and it going in, and I was just like, ‘S—, this is it here’
“That one haunt me for sure.”
DeRozan isn’t the only one still dealing with such a loss. Without missing a beat, George recalled that after the Cavs dispatched the Raptors in the first round of the 2018 postseason, his Indiana Pacers team met a similar fate at James’ hands in the Eastern Conference semifinals, although what he really meant was the 2017 postseason.
“He put me away, too, man,” George lamented. “I think we played them first round, got whooped up, and then they played y’all. … That was my last time in Indy; he got me up out of there, too.”
In a career full of incredible playoff series, James’ efforts against both the Raptors and the Pacers in 2017 and 2018 definitely rate with some of his all-time best