LeBron James On Fire As The Cavs Coast To Eastern Conference Finals

09 May, 2018, 01:19 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • Pre-game news & notes: Lue calls potential Casey firing 'absurd'

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.

The Toronto Raptors were supposed to be a better team ahead of a playoffs rematch with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this year, but nothing in their Eastern Conference Finals supported that type of expectation.

Although James racked up the points in a sweep over the Raptors, the 20-year-old can be proud of his efforts against the Cavs superstar.

What's also incredible is James has been so insanely good, and his supporting cast so improved against Toronto, that the Cavs, who only a week ago were considered underdogs against the Raptors and oddsmakers' No. 3 pick in the East to advance to the Finals, seem poised to become just the fourth team to advance to four straight NBA Finals. The offence and defence both ranked in the top five for efficiency, as the team set a new franchise record for regular season wins. But we had a great gameplan and we executed it. "I don't know if we win this series like this if we didn't go through that in that first series, so hopefully we keep learning our lessons and continue to get better". "I think we've done that from the seven-game series against IN to these four games".

Cleveland shot a ridiculous 65 per cent in Game 4's first quarter, when nine of their 12 field goals were either layups or dunks. Kevin Love would come alive, as would J.R. Smith down the stretch. "A lot of my success, all of my success, I have to credit Casey". "We've earned the right to get rest, rest our bodies, recalibrate our mind".

Toronto's miserable night saw DeMar DeRozan ejected in the fourth quarter while Kyle Lowry was restricted to just five points.

Jonas Valanciunas led Toronto with 18 points.

At a pregame press conference, the Raptors' coach Dwane Casey said he doesn't believe in ghosts in the playoffs, even after losing the previous two seasons to the Cavs. "They're playing at a high level now", Casey said. "I thought we could bounce back, but we didn't".

Fellow all-star Kyle Lowry offered little from the podium, a baseball cap jammed low over his eyes as DeRozan fielded questions. They're just rough riders, they're dogs - and I mean that in a good way. "Nothing's ever promised, we're not sure if we'll get this opportunity again so it sucks to dwell and sit here and have to go into the summer not knowing if the opportunity presents itself again", said DeRozan.

That's never a bad thing, but the way the Cavs played in the four games against the Raptors nearly makes you wish they played again tomorrow.

We've all run out of ways to describe LeBron's 15-year run of sustained, healthy excellence, but what he's done in the 2018 playoffs might represent the peak version of his superpowers.

During the regular season, the Cavaliers topped the Celtics two-out-of-three times and split the four-game season series with the 76ers. From getting outscored by 40 points in seven games against in, the Cavs outscored Toronto by 56 in the series.

There isn't much to say about James in this series. "A tremendous team-mate, an incredible competitor".

With NBA teams down 3-0 having lost all 129 series, Philadelphia may need more than spirit to pull off this stunner.

"We had a group going in the fourth, and Coach rode with it", he told reporters.