Skip Bayless on the Cavaliers-Raptors series: ‘It’s over’

Video Details

Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe talk 2018 NBA Playoffs. Hear what they had to say about LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers going into tonight's game with the Toronto Raptors.

- So he hits one crazy shot against the pathetic Toronto Raptors. I told you they were pathetic.

SHANNON: You're pathetic.

- They're sorry, they're fraudulent, get them out of my sight. Call it off. I wish they didn't play tonight, because it's not fair to Toronto to even play the game tonight.


- Because it's over. You know it's over, and I know it's over, and they know it's over.

SHANNON: That's why we play the game.

- Back into the shot. I'll get to Michael Jordan a little later, but back to the shot. The only good thing I can say about this shot is it went in, and it was a big deal at that point, to me, because I picked the Cavs to sweep. So I wanted him to make some kind of a shot, just not that shot, because that shot was so wrong on so many levels. The more I think about, it the worse it gets. And I'm going to-- again, I'll echo LeBron's quote that we just saw.

"The level of difficulty on that shot was extremely difficult. Don't try that at home." Boom. Thank you very much for summing it up for me, King. Because it was absurdly difficult, and it did not have to be. Let's start from the start. Ty Lue actually made a head coaching decision. I'm with you. That was, dare I say, brilliant. That was shocking to me, because I didn't think of that. I didn't see it coming, and neither did Dwayne Casey, because he's telling his kids in the timeout-- and he's got kids out there-- let's trap him and take the ball out of LeBron's hand in the half court.

SHANNON: Correct.

- In the half court. And Ty Lue says, let's just go full. You're going to go full?

SHANNON: I was thinking what you were thinking. Why would you not advance the ball?

- Because it's in the rule book. It's like a freebie. It's like, here, you can advance it to half-court.


- And he said, no, I got that six-foot-nine guy. Why not let him get a full head of steam?

SHANNON: That is exactly what he said.

- So a curve ball is thrown at Toronto that knocks them off balance right from the start of the play, because they're not sure what to do. So the quote unquote "trappers" are a rookie from Indiana who went 23rd in the first round, Anunoby, and Siakam, a second year player who's still just trying to figure out how to play NBA basketball.


- Those are the two kids who are supposed to trap LeBron. And Siakam-- and I can't condemn him for this-- he starts to go trap, and then he's looking around like, I don't know, I don't think I should be doing this full-court.

SHANNON: Exactly

- Yeah, I better not leave my guy. So he doesn't really go hard to trap.

SHANNON: Correct.

- So LeBron has a pretty easy, quote unquote, "escape," and here he comes full speed ahead. Is there any more imposing sight, maybe in the history of basketball, than six-foot-nine LeBron James, full speed, running full court?


- I just don't know. We all agree he could have been a tight end in your game, he could have been a Shannon Sharpe.


- A lot bigger Shannon Sharpe, maybe just a red zone target. But--

SHANNON: He'd be Gronk.

- Yeah. He could have been Gronk, because I'm pretty sure he's at least as fast as Gronk. He might be faster.


- So here he comes full speed on Anunoby. So let's think about this. This is the guy I always tell you is the greatest driver of the basketball in NBA history, the greatest attacker the basket I've ever seen, that includes Michael Jeffrey Jordan, is this guy, six-foot, nine-inch LeBron James. Because nobody, as we saw repeatedly throughout this series, and in this game, they just can't keep him from the rim.

So let's think about what's going on here. Ibaka has been taken out of the game for Siakam. Why? I'm not so sure, because if I'm Dwane Casey, I'm going to leave I-block-a in the game. Just demand the lane. Just--

SHANNON: He had blocked like three shots.

- He had. So he takes him out, and he takes out DeMar DeRozan, and by the way, it had degenerated so badly for Toronto, their best player is DeMar DeRozan, right?


- He's not playing the whole fourth quarter, because he's just gone into a funk, and his coach says, I'm done with you, you sit and watch. So he is one of their better defenders, right?

SHANNON: He sat the final two minutes of the third and the entire fourth.

- He did. OK, so he's gone.


- So now you bring in C.J. Miles to guard Kyle Korver and the two kids, and there's not even a I-block-a. So the tallest guy on the floor is Siakam at six-nine, he's not even in Lebron's ballpark. I know he's as tall as LeBron, but his physical-- so all of a sudden it's a superhighway to the basket. And I tweeted this, so I first guessed it. Just shoot the free throw. All you need is one free throw to win the game, because the safe play, the money play, the conservative play, the one that's sitting on a silver platter, is just drive it down the lane and you might be able to dunk it. Because I don't think anybody on the floor for Toronto could stop you from slamming.

SHANNON: Do you believe, in that situation, because you-- now, we've heard they let them play the last second. They don't want to be the one determining the game. Do you believe they're going to call a foul in that moment?

- With those guys on the floor, I do. I believe that it's about 60-40 he's just going to dunk it and the game's going to be over. He's got a step on Anunoby going to his right.


- And suddenly he slows slightly and he crosses him over to go left, because we always hear LeBron wants to go left. Once upon a time--

SHANNON: He wants to go right.

- No, he wants to go left in the last second.


- OK, and Michael Jordan once took a little bit of a shot at LeBron and said-- I'm just paraphrasing-- I could guard him in any of those situations, because I just know he's going to his left, and I would play him to go to his left. So Anunoby switches back, and he played him OK going to his left. But what is going on in this game, as has happened in many games, the free throw shooting demons have started to gnaw at LeBron's psyche, because he had made his first nine in this game, and then what happened? With 2:38 left in the fourth quarter, and then with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter, LeBron missed late game free throws.

So the demons are back, and he's thinking. And again, I always credit LeBron. He's got the highest basketball IQ I think I've ever seen. So he's two steps ahead. And if I can go back one sequence, what had happened when the game was on the line after the Kyle Lowry layup? They just gave him a lay up a little bit earlier. That cut it to two. So now somebody is going to have to shoot the two free throws to ice the game, and it could have been over with 19 seconds left, right?


- So what happens? LeBron rushes to grab the basketball to take it out of bounds, because if you're the best player on the planet, don't you want the basketball? You want to go shoot the free throws?

SHANNON: Well, I think the thing for him is that, let's get the ball before they get an opportunity to set their defense. So let me get the ball, because the longer the ball sits, the better the chances are to set a defense.

- But if you're that guy who makes those free throws, you just say, Kevin Love, somebody, take the ball out of bounds and give it to me so I can go make the free throws, and the game's going to be over because you're going to make it a four point game.

SHANNON: Skip, you're starting to nit pick. It's almost like the doctor saved your life, but you didn't like the color scrubs he came into the operating room with.

- Well, in this one, he is running from that free throw line, because he inbounds to Jeff Green, who has been a 61% playoff free throw shooter after he was an 87% free throw shooter during the regular season. So maybe Lebron's thinking, we'll get Jeff Green of the regular season, but he's only 14 of 23 so far in the postseason up to that point. And we all know he goes down and makes the first one, and he misses the second one, which opens the door for Anunoby to make a pull it out of your rear-end three that ties the game and sets up the last shot.

So to me, you drive the basketball and just go shoot. All you have to do is make one free throw. And remember, this was a good situation for LeBron, because it's not sink or swim. It's not do or die.

SHANNON: See what he did, Joy?

- Well, I'm just telling you.

SHANNON: You see what he did, Joy?

- There have been times-- there have been times, and we'll get into this a little later in the show, when LeBron has made big shots where it was sink or swim, do or die. But this is a tie game against the woeful Toronto Raptors. Just shoot the free throw.

- The Raptors are woeful now? A team that swept the Houston Rockets, who had the best record in basketball.

- Does any body think they had any chance? What have you seen so far?

- Vegas thought they had a chance, because Vegas had started them at six and a half point favorites in both games. Now, you love Vegas.

- I saw something very differently.


- I called it a sweep.