All the Raptors could do was wait for LeBron James to make a move.
In the closing minutes of the first quarter of Toronto’s matchup with the Cavaliers on March 21, James found himself isolated on the left wing while his teammates cleared the floor for him by overloading the weak side. With J.R. Smith, George Hill, Jose Calderon, and Ante Zizic standing near each other around the perimeter, the Cavaliers gave James all the space he needed to attack in isolation, which he does at almost the same frequency as James Harden and at a rate few players in the league can match on the season.
Only this time James wasn’t necessarily looking to create a scoring opportunity for himself. There were still 11 seconds remaining on the shot clock when he squared up to the basket, so he waited for the Raptors to make his decision for him. Pascal Siakam, who drew the impossible task of guarding James on an island, had some help to his immediate left with DeMar DeRozan dropping down slightly lower than he usually would to provide resistance from the middle of the court. Jakob Poeltl also offered help by positioning himself underneath the basket to provide some much-needed rim protection in case James got to the hoop. James, however, forced Poeltl to vacate the area by holding onto the ball for longer than the Austrian center expected.