Welcome to LeBronto: social media dunks on Raptors fans after devastating game 2 loss
LeBron James posted the first 40-point, 14-assist performance in NBA playoff history
After watching their team on the wrong end of an all-time beatdown from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors fans have been subject to another wave of indignity, this time on social media.
In the wake of Thursday's game — in which the Cleveland Cavaliers took a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Raptors — social media users wasted no time rubbing salt into the fresh wounds of Raptor fans.
LeBronto out here taming the Raptors <a href="https://t.co/Hdr0KVQb4c">pic.twitter.com/Hdr0KVQb4c</a>—@Collinjustin1
James posted a gargantuan 43 points, 14 assists and 8 rebounds in the game. At times during the second half, the four-time MVP appeared to be toying with the Raptors defence, attempting and succeeding on a series of increasingly difficult shots.
The online humiliation went into overdrive at the end of the third quarter, when ESPN announcer Mark Jones called the city "LeBronto" as the broadcast went to a commercial break.
Toronto has a new name <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LeBronto?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LeBronto</a> 😂 <a href="https://t.co/N946LdIh0w">pic.twitter.com/N946LdIh0w</a>—@BleacherReport
"Transcendent performances like LeBron's tonight always propel me to another orbit," Jones later wrote on Twitter.
But it was Jones's "LeBronto" ad lib that sparked a flurry of memes on social media, including one that re-imagined the city sign at Nathan Phillips Square.
Ask and thou shall receive.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/LwI1uh7HNl">pic.twitter.com/LwI1uh7HNl</a>—@MythAddict
The Photoshop creation was made by Cormac Corcoran, a die-hard NBA fan and graphic designer in Ireland.
He whipped up the painful tribute in just minutes, after a request from NBA analyst and Toronto native J.E. Skeets.
"I hope I didn't rattle too many cages with it," Corcoran told CBC Toronto, before adding, "the Raptors aren't out yet."
If his tribute to James didn't push Raptors fans into a state of despair, there were plenty of other memes to help pile on.
😂😂😂 History really does repeat itself <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LeBronto?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LeBronto</a> <a href="https://t.co/70VLEY7pXf">pic.twitter.com/70VLEY7pXf</a>—@KendallJW
Tragedy into comedy? Not so fast
NBA analyst Tas Melas said the deluge of social media skewering was hard to take after the loss.
"It doesn't alleviate any of the pain," said Melas, a former Raptors season ticket holder who co-hosts The Starters on NBA TV. "Memes aren't funny."
What might help, he said, is for Raptors fans to put Thursday's loss — and now likely series defeat — into context.
The Raptors, he notes, are merely the latest Eastern Conference challenger to be obliterated by James in the playoffs.
"No one has been able to get a taste of the finals," Melas said, adding that LeBron James has appeared in seven straight NBA Finals.
The series now shifts to Cleveland for games three and four.
If the Raptors can steal at least one of those games, they'll return to the Air Canada Centre for game five on Wednesday, May 9.