6:09 p.m.-CAVALIERS ADVANCE TO EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
For the third straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are moving onto the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Cavaliers became the first team in the 2017 NBA Playoffs to clinch a spot in the conference finals when they closed out the four-game sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 109-102 win in Game 4 at Air Canada Centre Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to record back-to-back four-game sweeps over the first two rounds of the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The Cavaliers have won 11 straight postseason games dating back to Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals at the Golden State Warriors.
Cavaliers small forward LeBron James led the way with 35 points to go along with nine rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot. Additionally, point guard Kyrie Irving scored 27 points to go along with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals.
The Cavaliers got double-digit efforts from guard Kyle Korver (18 points) and forward Channing Frye (10) off the bench. Korver knocked down four of his six looks from three-point range, while Frye buried two of his three attempts from long distance.
5:24 p.m.-RAPTORS CUT INTO CAVALIERS LEAD
The Cleveland Cavaliers maintained their lead over the Toronto Raptors after three quarters of play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre, but it was far from easy, as the home team came out strong to start the third quarter.
The Cavaliers pushed their lead up to 16 points with a quick 8-4 run over the first three minutes of the second half.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving initiated the scoring when he swished a technical foul free throw, and then, five seconds later, buried a 20-foot jump shot. Then, after the Raptors scored their first basket of the half, a layup from guard DeMar DeRozan, small forward LeBron James fired up and knocked down a 28-foot three-point shot.
When Irving shot a 15-foot pull-up jumper, the Cavaliers took a 69-53 advantage, but the Raptors had quite the answer in the form of a 20-9 scoring run that made it a five-point game with 2:38 to play in the third quarter.
The free-throw line and three-point shots were the Raptors’ greatest weapons during the run.
The Raptors knocked down three of their four attempts from the free-throw line, and got three-pointers from power forward Serge Ibaka and reserve forward P.J. Tucker.
The Cavaliers stemmed the tide when James got a pair of free throws to fall, and after DeRozan made a 21-footer, reserve forward Channing Frye responded with a dunk off of a pass from Irving, and then, a 25-foot three-point shot set up by James’ ability to get into the lane.
A 5-0 run from the Raptors made it a five-point game after the third quarter of play.
4:42-CAVALIERS LEAD RAPTORS, 61-49, AT THE HALF
The Cleveland Cavaliers used strong shooting from reserve guard Kyle Korver to take a 61-49 lead over the Toronto Raptors after the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre.
The Cavaliers surged ahead of the Raptors, 51-41, thanks to a 17-6 scoring run over a five-minute stretch that started at the eight-minute mark of the second quarter.
During the run, the Cavaliers got a long-distance shot from power forward Kevin Love, as well as a pair of triples from Korver. In addition to the three-pointers, Korver added a pair of jumpers inside the three-point arc.
Korver’s second three-pointer at the 3:54 mark of the second quarter gave the Cavaliers their first double-digit lead of the game, 51-41. Korver hit four of his first five shots from the field, including two of his three looks from three-point range.
Then, Korver added a pair of late second-quarter three-pointers that keyed an 8-0 scoring run and helped put the Cavaliers in front of the Raptors by 12 points at the half.
4:03 p.m.-RAPTORS COME OUT FIRING, CAVALIERS DRAW EVEN AFTER ONE
The Cleveland Cavaliers struggled on the offensive end of the floor early in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre, but a 13-2 scoring run over the final three minutes evened the score at 28-28 after the first quarter of play.
With their backs against the proverbial wall, the Raptors came out firing in Game 4 and built an 11-point lead, 21-10, on the strength of a 16-4 scoring run.
The Raptors hit 10 of their 16 attempts from the field (62.5 percent) and two of their four looks from three-point range. At one point in the first quarter, the Raptors buried 10 of 11 shots from the field.
Power forward Serge Ibaka delivered a rush of offense by knocking down three of his first five shots from the field on the way to seven points in the game’s first nine minutes. Toronto’s other starters, forward P.J. Tucker, center Jonas Valanciunas, point guard Cory Joseph and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan combined for 16 points.
Cavaliers small forward LeBron James led the way with 10 first-quarter points, including a driving layup and ensuing free throw to close out a three-point play and even things at 28 all late in the period.
During the Cavaliers’ scoring run, shooting guard J.R. Smith and reserve power forward Channing Frye each buried three-pointers.
3:25 p.m.-CAVALIERS GO FOR SWEEP OF RAPTORS
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance to secure another weeklong break in the 2017 NBA Playoffs, but in order to do so, they need to finish off the sweep of the Toronto Raptors in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Air Canada Centre tonight.
The Cavaliers earned their way to play for the sweep by fighting their way through 15 turnovers and a stagnant second-quarter offense on the way to a 115-94 victory over the Raptors in Game 3 Friday night.
Small forward LeBron James led the way with 35 points on nine-of-16 shooting and a 15-of-16 showing from the free-throw line. Despite committing five turnovers, James was impactful in all facets of play, as he handed out seven assists and pulled down eight rebounds.
James hit a pair of left-handed turnaround jumpers from the free-throw line in his 90th career 30-point postseason game.
In addition to James, the Cavaliers got double-digit scoring production from power forward Kevin Love, point guard Kyrie Irving and reserve shooting guard Kyle Korver. Love and Irving scored 16 points each, while Korver sunk four of his six looks from three-point range on the way to a 14-point effort.
Without starting point guard Kyle Lowry because of a leg injury suffered in Game 2, Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan overcame his early-series woes and scored 37 points.
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