Fred VanVleet On Facing LeBron James In The Playoffs: “You Knew What Move He Was Gonna Do And He Still Did It”
The playoff battles between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors have created a captivating story in NBA history. At the center of this narrative is LeBron James, whose dominant performances against Raptors stand out as some of the most memorable moments in the basketball world.
The former Cavaliers superstar averaged 31.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game on 58.3% shooting from the field against the Raptors, spearheading his team to victory in each of their three playoff matchups.
The 2018 playoff series was the defining point of their encounters, with the Raptors entering the series as the top team in the Eastern Conference, only to witness LeBron and the Cavaliers completely dismantle them and sweep the series 4-0.
Fred VanVleet, a key player for the Raptors in those matchups, had the firsthand experience of dealing with LeBron’s dominance. Recently featured on The Pivot Podcast, the former Raptors point guard revisited their playoff battles with LeBron, offering an inside perspective on what it was like to stand up to the legendary Cavaliers superstar.
“Sometimes, yes. He had a 2nd or 3rd quarter against us where he decided he was going to shoot turnaround jumpers the whole quarter and there was nothing you could do,” VanVleet said. “… You knew what move he was gonna do and he still did it and there’s nothing you could do.
“Bron definitely gave us a couple of those performances where it was like ‘what you gonna do?’ Especially me, what am I going to do? There ain’t nothing I can do. Steph [Curry] is a little bit different because I feel a little bit better. He’s more closer to my size. But yeah, Bron was on a different time.”
“He had a 2nd or 3rd quarter against us where he decided he was going to shoot turnaround jumpers…You knew what move he was gonna do, he still did it and there’s nothing you could do.”
Fred VanVleet on facing LeBron James in the playoffs
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 9, 2023