The NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers powered into the Eastern Conference finals yesterday, downing the Toronto Raptors 109-102 to complete a four-game sweep of their playoff series.
James led the Cavs with 35 points, 6 assists and 9 rebounds, while Irving had 27 points and 9 assists. "There's desperation at their end and desperation at our end".
"When LeBron is shooting the 3 ball the way he is, at the rate he's shooting it, they're hard", Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "It was tough on us".
Game 4 is Sunday night in Houston. To the Raptors' credit, they didn't give up when they fell down by 16 but instead came marching back and even took the lead midway through the 4th quarter.
They're the first team to win eight games in a row over consecutive post-season runs. "I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon".
"Honestly, I wouldn't BS you guys".
The Cavaliers got the brooms out again-and used them.
"You're going to have to have very flexible defenders", Casey said, "and you're going to have score 117, 118 points a night". The Raptors took their first fourth-quarter lead of the series but couldn't avoid their fourth straight loss.
There are plenty of players who could opt-out of their contracts and become free agents this summer, but most will simply re-sign with their respective teams.
His lay-up with four minutes left had Cleveland up by eight. James has been the King of just about every stat, and if you watch the games, it is clear that he has not slowed down even at 32 years old.
"If we had LeBron on our team, too, we would have won", DeRozan said.
With a superstar in James, a star in Kyrie Irving and shooters who can stretch defences and allow for spacing, Tucker realizes the Raptors ran into a great team. I've just gotta be better. DeRozan said he thinks LeBron seems a lot faster and quicker this year, and that "him out there is much different from last year".
"I'm going to spend so much time with them that they're going to get exhausted of me, " he joked. All the while, Cleveland will be watching film, working on things they can do against either team, and getting some well-earned rest. The team's best young player is Norman Powell, a second-round pick who won't likely change the landscape in the Eastern Conference.
Cleveland had Toronto's number from three-point range, outscoring the Raptors 183-81 from beyond the arc in the series. DeRozan left the game briefly with 8:07 to play in the second quarter after he was inadvertently kicked in the midsection while guarding Iman Shumpert. The Cavs opened a five-point lead in the two-plus minutes he missed.
Former Beacon Journal beat writer Jason Lloyd, now with The Athletic, deemed the rotation of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Kyle Korver and Deron Williams the "shooterpalooza lineup". Their shining moments came in Games 3 and 4, when Biyombo took over as they limited the Cavaliers to under 100 points in both contests.
Toronto was swept by Cleveland in the second-round and reports claim that the Raptors' early playoff exit could increase the odds of Lowry leaving town this offseason. Lowry is one of the best point guards in the league, and he can space the floor, initiate offense and defend at a high level. This wasn't quite the insane level of ultra-efficiency LeBron had shown in the last couple games, and I'm sure LeBron won't be happy with the 6 turnovers he committed, but it was a 35 point, 9 rebound, and 6 assist display of greatness once again.