The quarterfinals of the Las Vegas Summer League wrapped up Sunday night as we set our sights for the semifinal matchups. The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Toronto Raptors with a final score of 82-68, having a lead once as large as 20.
The game was close throughout the first half. There were 4 ties and 4 lead changes in the first two-quarters of gameplay, and the Cavs found themselves down 2 going into halftime. But the decisive third quarter is where Cleveland pulled away from the Raptors, outscoring them 21 to 4 and holding Toronto to shoot 2-19 from the floor.
The defense really was the key the entire game for Cleveland, as Toronto shot 25-81 for the game (30.9%) and 8-40 from 3-point land (20%). Collin Sexton, in his postgame interview, explained how his game starts on the defensive end and when the team gets a defensive stop, he feels obligated to turn their hard-work on the defensive side into reward on the offensive side.
Sexton himself continued his impressive Summer League, finishing the game with 18 points on 6-14 shooting to go along with 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Sexton is passing more and more each game, which is something that he didn’t do in his first 2 games. His scoring has been consistent throughout the summer league, always putting up between 15 and 30 points a night. His transition game is incredibly strong, as he often will outrun opposing players struggling to get back on defense. At one point in the game, Collin caught a pass in the corner and drove to the basket. He jumped from outside the paint and drew contact, but then managed to adjust his shot after the contact while still in mid-air and finish the basket. His ability to finish around the rim is second to none. If he manages to develop a consistent jump shot, he really will live up to the hype.
The hero of this game for Cleveland was John Holland. He finished with 23 points on 8-12 shooting and 4-7 from long-range, as well as 2 rebounds, a steal and a block. It seems like even though the Cavs international duo of Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic sat out the past 2 games, other players stepped up to fill the void.
Scoochie Smith and Billy Preston both added 10 points each. Okaro White led the game in rebounding with 10 boards to go along with his 2 points.
As for Toronto, Chris Boucher was their leading scorer despite coming off the bench. He finished with 18 points on 50% shooting, and added 8 rebounds too, 4 of which were offensive boards. Both Alfonzo McKinnie and Malachi Richardson added 14 points, but neither shot above 50% from the floor. In fact, not one Raptors player shot over 50% for the game, which was their ultimate downfall. It seems that the old saying “defense wins games” holds true even in Summer League, as the Cavs stopped Toronto in their tracks.
The Cavs also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Toronto 47-35. Overall, this was a very well played game for the Cavs, and the emphasis on defense was the difference maker in this game. If they manage to play the same defense Monday night against the defending Summer League champion Los Angeles Lakers, then the Cavaliers could definitely emerge victorious.
Feature Image via Dreamstime/Benkrut