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Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors redux: LeBron's 56 not enough as Toronto Raptors hold off Cleveland Cavaliers

With the 2019-20 season temporarily on hold, our daily need for basketball has never been greater.

In an attempt to fill that void, we've decided to hop into the time machine while we wait for Toronto Raptors games to resume by revisiting some of the biggest moments in franchise history.

Today, we're taking it back 15 years to the Raptors overcoming a career game from a young LeBron James.


LeBron James' 56 points aren't enough as Toronto Raptors earn seven-point win over Cleveland Cavaliers

James becomes the youngest player in NBA history to record a 50-point performance and set the record for most points scored by a Raptors opponent.

Sunday afternoon, LeBron James did something that he's never done before.

For the first time in his young career, the 20-year-old scored over 50 points as he finished with 56 points while shooting 18-for-36 from the field, 6-for-12 from beyond the arc and 14-for-15 from the free throw line. It was a masterful performance, as he also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists while playing in all 48 minutes.

Only it wasn't enough.

Behind 30 points from Jalen Rose and a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double from reserve forward Donyell Marshall, the Raptors (28-38) earned a 105-98 win over the Cavs (34-30) to snap a two-game losing streak.

Here are some takeaways from the game:

LeBron James is the future

Okay, you might have known that already, but if you had any doubts, a performance like this one should put them to rest.

James entered Sunday afternoon's matchup - the 141st of his career - averaging 25.8 points and 7.4 assists per game and is just a month removed from becoming the second-youngest player to appear in an NBA All-Star Game.

Less than three months ago? He was celebrating his 20th birthday.

The league's latest preps-to-pros sensation is doing things we've never seen before from a player of his age. He becomes the youngest player to ever score 50 points in a game, besting a nearly 40-year-old record held by Hall of Famer Rick Barry, who was 21 when he scored 57 against the New York Knicks.

LeBron made his presence felt from the onset of the game, scoring 16 points in the first period alone and by halftime, he was up to 29 points. While the third frame was his lowest-scoring quarter in this one, it set up a monster fourth in which he would score 18 points to keep Cleveland in it. A 3 over Marshall with under a minute remaining in the game made it a three-point game but a clutch bucket and two free throws from Rafer Alston would put it away for good.

After the game, James showed maturity beyond his years, telling reporters "I don't care about individual stats, especially when you lose. I was disappointed to have as good a game as I had and still come out with a loss."

James possesses the speed, quickness and court vision of a guard while mixing in a blend of athleticism and strength in a 6-foot-8 frame. He probably won't go 6-for-12 from 3 that often but the fact that it is something he is capable of is pretty scary.

Raptors head coach Sam Mitchelll gave the 20-year-old plenty of credit, saying: "I thought he earned all 56. I mean, he hit some fadeaway 3s and shots, but he had two guys contesting him."

It's safe to say this won't be the last 50-point game we see from the phenom.

Jalen Rose bounces back

After a rough shooting night in his hometown on Friday, Rose came up big with a team-high 30 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, doing a bit of everything to showcase the versatility that's made him unique since coming into the league.

It's the 32-year-old's fifth 30 point game of the 2004-05 season, which is impressive considering he only had two such games last season.

The 11-year veteran has been solid this season, averaging 17.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 85.1 percent from the free throw line. Over the last three games, he's upped those averages to 29.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists on 50.8 percent shooting.

Now, he has an opportunity to continue his impressive play against his former team as the Chicago Bulls are in town on Wednesday. In four games against the Bulls since a trade sent him from Chicago, Rose is averaging 25.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 50.0 percent from the field.

Another big game could be in store in a few days.

Donyell stays hot and 3-point shooting makes the difference

Led by five triples from their sharpshooter in Marshall, the Raptors knocked down 12 of their 26 3-point attempts in the game. While James made six 3s for the Cavs, the rest of the team was 1-for-2 for a grand total of 7-for-14 shooting from the land beyond.

That's a 15-point difference.

It's the 18th time this season that Toronto has made 10 or more 3-pointers in a game and the team is 14-4 in such games.

Marshall's performance comes exactly a week after he knocked down an NBA-record 12 3s by himself to lead Toronto to a home victory over Philadelphia. Over the Raptors' last four games, Marshall is has knocked down a total of 26 3-pointers and he's done so while shooting 53.1 percent from the perimeter. He's averaging 25.8 points and 10.3 rebounds over this span as well.

Against the Cavs, it wasn't just Marshall. Alston (3-for-4), Rose (2-for-5) and rookie Matt Bonner (1-for-2) did their part from the perimeter, making up for a relatively off night from Morris Peterson, who was 1-for-5 from deep.

Suffice to say, it was an all-around team effort.

The road ahead

With the win, Toronto keeps its playoff hopes alive. It's a slim chance, but it's still a chance.

At 28-38, the Raptors are four games behind the 76ers, who are currently in eighth place in the East. After Wednesday's meeting against Chicago, Toronto goes on a five-game road trip that begins in Philly.

It could be make-or-break for the team's playoff hopes.

The Cavs, on the other hand, fall to 34-30 ad are currently in the East's fifth seed. As it has yet to clinch a playoff spot, Cleveland must address its road woes. The Cavs have now lost nine straight on the road and play 10 of their final 18 games away from home.


Toronto won five of its final 16 games to finish 33-49 on the season, good for 11th in the East.

Cleveland would finish the season winning eight of its last 18 to end up with a 42-40 record but just missed the playoffs as New Jersey earned the eighth seed with the same record.

MORE: Highest scoring games against the Raptors

LeBron's record for a Raptor opponent would last less than one year as Kobe Bryant would score 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006. His record as the youngest to score 50 or more would last over four years before Brandon Jennings scored 55 points against the Warriors on Nov. 14, 2009.

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