LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a four-game sweep of the Toronto Raptors Monday night, becoming the first team in the 2018 National Basketball Association playoffs to advance to the conference finals.
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after the Toronto Raptors called a timeout during the first half of Game 4 of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 7, 2018 in Cleveland.
The Cavs will now face either Boston or Philadelphia, who stopped the Celtics advancing with a home win on Monday night.
Even if they lost to the Cavs, no one on the Raptors team could have expected another sweep - following up the sweep from last season as well.
"We wanted to take away DeRozan and we wanted to take away their bench", said Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are headed to the conference finals again after blowing the Toronto Raptors out of the water on Monday with a 128-93 victory.
"That is what our goal is". The Cavs didn't let up, pushing their lead to 30 as their fans finally got a chance to relax and start making plans for the next round. Kevin Love, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, Jeff Green, and George Hill each averaged double-digit points per game while shooting efficiently in the second round.
The Raptors shot just 26.7 per cent from three-point range and were led in scoring by center Jonas Valanciunas' 18 points.
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Now, the sweep of the Raptors afford James and the Cavs a much-needed break.
Speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, James would comment on the "SNL" skit dubbed "The Other Cavaliers". But it's LeBron James we're talking about.
The semifinals were a definite contrast from the Cavs' grueling seven-game first round series that left James, who averaged 41 points, pretty exhausted.
"I trust every shot that I'm gonna take because I work on every shot", James added.
After winning 59 games in the regular season, the Raptors had the East's top seed and figured that this was their year. James and Bryant share plenty of physical traits with other players, but it's the intangibles that separate the scorers and playmakers from the difference makers.
As for LeBron, there was no doubt in his mind that he would come through in that moment. By the end, the Raptors were defeated and deflated.
Unsurprisingly, another person receiving a lot of criticism is head coach Dwane Casey. "They struggled a little bit. So it's impossible for me to lose confidence in our ballclub, no matter what the stakes are or where we're down, because if I do that, then where are we going to go from a team aspect?" I'm like, 'When would you shoot a shot like that?' Apparently to win a playoff game. It's a highlight that has been replayed endlessly on sports TV ever since, along with pundits discussing how Cleveland owns Toronto in the playoffs.