Wed, May 03, 2017 - Page 16 News List

LeBron scores 35, celebrates happy hour with Cavs

LeBron scores 35, celebrates happy hour with Cavs

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, center, holds a beer bottle taken from a server during Game 1 of their second-round NBA playoff series against the Toronto Raptors at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday.WARNING: Excessive consumption of alcohol can damage your health.

Photo: AP

LeBron James resisted drinking some beer. He downed the Raptors again instead.

James briefly grabbed a bottle of beer on the sideline while scoring 35 points and Kyrie Irving added 24 as the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up where they left off following a long layoff and throttled Toronto 116-105 on Monday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference second-round series.

The Cavs had not played since April 23, when they completed a four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers. However, the defending champions did not show signs of rust and were well-prepared to face the revenge-seeking Raptors, who lost to Cleveland in last year’s conference finals.

Toronto dropped to 1-12 in playoff openers and got blown out for the fourth straight time in Cleveland.

“As a team I think we had great energy, and even some of the mistakes that we had we were able to cover up for because our energy level was high, but we’ll be a lot better on Wednesday,” James said.

Kyle Lowry scored 20 and DeMar DeRozan 19 for the Raptors, who were within seven in the third quarter before James dropped a three-pointer, converted a three-point play, drained another three and then considered washing down a brew.

After drawing a foul on a missed layup, James playfully hopped toward the sideline, where a courtside server was passing by. The three-time champion reached and grabbed a beer bottle from her tray and brought it toward his lips before putting it back.

“I was standing right next to him,” teammate J.R. Smith said. “I thought it was hilarious until I thought that if I did it, it wouldn’t have been taken the right way. It was funny, though.”

With trade acquisitions Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, this Toronto team seemed better equipped to beat Cleveland than the one who lost in six games in last year’s playoffs.

Trouble is, James only seems to be getting better.

After nearly averaging a triple-double against the Pacers, he reminded the Raptors that to move on they will have to beat him.

“We’ve just got to play defense and not let them do up and down and do what they do, play defense for 48 minutes,” Lowry said. “We got to find ways to limit their spurts.”

Game 2 is to be played today.

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