Cleveland made it to the eastern conference finals last night! For the fourth consecutive time. What an accomplishment.
The Cleveland Cavaliers last night compete as gladiators and so far they are completing a 4-0 sweep against the Toronto Raptors wich send on fire to approach the Eastern Conference finals for a fourth straight season with eventually some extra days for more training and adjustment to launch their journey for another Eastern Conference Championship title.
With this in mind, Cleveland swept Toronto for the second consecutive season. Finishing off the Raptors 128-93 in Game 4 on Monday. Cleveland brought the offensive firepower to Game 4. Shooting 59.5% from the field and 46.2% on three-pointers and outscoring Toronto 70-46 in the second and third quarters.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have beaten Toronto for the third consecutive postseason – 4-2 in the 2016 conference finals, 4-0 in last season’s conference semifinals and 4-0 in this season’s conference semifinals.
To put it differently, it’s now 10 consecutive playoff victories for Cleveland against Toronto. This defeat is deflating for the Raptors. Because it changed its style play following last season to better compete with Cleveland. It was a regular-season success. They finished with a franchise-record 59 victories and the No. 1 seed
But in the playoffs, the Raptors came up way short, even with a one-point loss in Game 1 and a two-point loss in Game 3. Until this series, the Raptors had not lost more than two consecutive games this season.
By all means, changes coach? roster? Could be coming to Toronto in the offseason, and Cleveland is headed to the conference finals for the fourth consecutive season, getting the winner of the Boston-Philadelphia series.
1. LeBron James’ playoff excellence
Consequently, LeBron James would have recorded his 22nd career playoff triple-double had the Cavs not been up 110-80 in the fourth quarter when he went to the bench for the rest of the game. He had 29 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds, and for the series, he averaged 34 points, 11.3 assists, and 8.3 rebounds and shot 55.3% from the field.
Nevertheless, James wanted to finish this series off and get rest. He started the series exhausted coming off a seven-game series against the Pacers. However, the conference finals won’t begin until Sunday at the earliest. He sensed the moment and didn’t squander the chance to get a break between series. Cleveland is 10-0 in a Game 4 with a 3-0 series lead – all with James.
Consider this big-picture accomplishment: James’ teams have now won 23 consecutive conference series, and Cleveland is 44-8 in the conference playoffs since he returned to the Cavs.
And he is four victories from reaching the Finals for the eighth consecutive season.
2. The Other Cavaliers
“Everybody knows about LeBron. But don’t forget about us, The Other Cavaliers, and whatever LeBron needs, we’ll get it done as long as what he needs isn’t basketball,” Glover and cast members to say it’s funny. But The Other Cavaliers were strong in Game 4 and throughout the series.
3. Cleveland’s three-point shooting
In Game 4, they made 6-for-12 in the first half and finished 12-for-26. When the Cavs make threes like that, they are one of the most difficult teams in the league to defend.
4. Not DeRozan’s finest series
All-Star DeMar DeRozan averaged 16.8 points this series (six below his season average) and shot just 44% from the field, was 0-for-9 on three-pointers and attempted just 11 free throws.
He sat the last 14 minutes, 16 seconds of Game 3 and was on the bench while the Raptors made their comeback and tied the score in the fourth quarter. He was ejected in the second half of Game 4 after a flagrant-2 against George Hill.
The most telling number: The Raptors were outscored by 74 points with DeRozan on the court, including by 29 in Game 4. DeRozan’s All-Star backcourt mate Kyle Lowry had just five points on 2-for-7 shooting.
5. Another lineup change for Raptors
Therefore, looking for answers to Cleveland’s rotations, Raptors coach Dwane Casey changed his starting lineup for the second consecutive game. C.J. Miles started and Fred VanVleet was back to being a reserve, and Serge Ibaka returned to the starting lineup in place of Jonas Valanciunas.
It worked to a degree. Valancuinas had 10 points, two assists, and two blocks in his first nine minutes and finished with 18 points. Ibaka had 12 points.