Cavs, finalists from the East; Sixers are still alive
LeBron James (23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after the Toronto Raptors called time during the first quarter of four games of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series on May 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Toronto Raptors 128-93 on Monday and advanced to the NBA Eastern Conference finals, where the winner of the series will be measured between the Celtics and the Sixers, who lead the first 3-3. 1.
Cleveland, fourth in the regular season, came from winning ‘in extremis’ 4-3 at the Indiana Pacers in the first round but had no trouble getting rid of the Canadians 4-0, first of the East, for the third year in a row.
“It was a great series for us, we had a lot of challenges, considering the dominance they had in the regular season, but we had a great game plan that we executed perfectly,” LeBron said after the game.
The Raptors only showed resistance in the first quarter. With the Spanish-Congolese Serbe Ibaka as starting point, and the Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas leaving from the bench, Toronto finished the first 12 minutes only four points behind but, in the second period, some very accurate Cavaliers broke the game by leaving at halftime 16 above.
LeBron James was unstoppable one more night, JR Smith finally contributed with a perfect evening (15 points, 6/6 in the shot), Kevin Love performed at the All-Star level and Kyle Korver hammered from the line of three as he had been habitual throughout his career.
After the passage through the dressing room the game was over. The locals took an income of up to 30 points and the star escort of the visitors, DeMar DeRozan, was ejected for a foul. The leaders of the East said goodbye, one more season, before time, with the feeling that their project has always faced LeBron James. And he has lost. Not in vain, James presents a balance of 53-12 before them, 12-2 in the playoffs.
The ‘King’ could rest in the last quarter, leaving the match with 29 goals (12/19), 11 assists and eight rebounds. Love signed 23, 12 in the third set, and the team finished with a spectacular success of 59.5% at the launch.
The Spanish base José Calderón entered in the last minutes, in which he scored two points and distributed an assistance.
The Raptors said goodbye with a bad image, with 12 goals from Ibaka, 13 from DeRozan, 13 from forward CJ Miles and with the feeling that the most successful project in its history has come to an end.
– Sixers present battle –
The 76ers had shown before that they had not said their last word and, with a great performance of Croatian power forward Dario Saric and substitute baseman TJ McConnell, defeated the Celtics 103-92.
Saric led the score for the Sixers with 25 points and caused many problems to the visiting defense. Meanwhile, McConnell was determining as sixth man to seal 19 points. Joel Embiid contributed 15 and rookie Ben Simmons, 19.
“We showed a lot of maturity today to come out with the victory, we had nothing to lose, our coach (Brett Brown) told us that the teams that started 0-3 are 0-129, so we just try to do our best to be that team that goes up, “McConnell explained.
“We all came to this building tonight with our bags packed in. We all came with the mentality of winning and flying to Boston for the fifth game (on Wednesday),” said Brown.