Most prognosticators in the sports world did not see this coming.
After handing the Cleveland Cavaliers their first loss of the 2016 NBA playoffs this weekend, the Toronto Raptors were six point underdogs for their Game 4 matchup Monday night at the Air Canada Centre. And despite what was once a 18 point lead for Toronto, the Cavs stormed back and challenged in the closing minutes, even taking a lead late in the fourth quarter.
But Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan would not be silenced — combining for a stunning 67 points — propelling their team to an unlikely win in the Eastern Conference Finals and in doing so, making ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith eat his words.
“I can’t even put into words how stunned I am,” said Smith immediately following Toronto’s 105-99 win over LeBron James and the Cavs. “I gotta be a man of my world and just apologize to Canada — all Canadians everywhere — because I certainly thought that this was going back to Cleveland 3-1 Cleveland with the Cavs closing this series out on Wednesday night so I wouldn’t have to go back to Canada and go through customs and all of that other nonsense. But that’s not how it went down, that’s now how it was meant to be.”
While the attention of the series will shift back to Ohio where the Cavs have been perfect in postseason play, the headlines are far different ahead of Wednesday’s Game 5 than Cleveland would like them to be. After Kyrie Irving was largely a non-factor in Game 3, it was the full roster of Cav players who most had the First Take host concerned. “Nobody from Cleveland was anywhere to be found,” said Smith. “I don’t understand what happened, but give the Toronto Raptors credit.”
“We’re now literally wondering whether or not [Cleveland] can win this series,” he further said in disbelief.
Watch the above reaction from Stephen A. Smith from ESPN.
[image via screengrab]
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