Cavaliers sweep past Raptors into conference finals
Los Angeles (AFP) – The NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers powered into the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, downing the Toronto Raptors 109-102 to complete a four-game sweep of their playoff series.
LeBron James scored 35 points with nine rebounds and six assists as the Cavaliers subdued the desperate Raptors to remain unbeaten in eight games in these playoffs.
They’re the first team to win eight games in a row over consecutive post-season runs.
In the Eastern Conference finals, the Cavaliers will play either the Boston Celtics or Washington Wizards for a place in the NBA Finals.
The Celtics took a 2-1 lead over Washington into game four of their series later Sunday.
Kyrie Irving added 27 points for the Cavaliers and Kyle Korver scored 18 off the bench.
Korver’s 16 first-half points helped the Cavaliers erase an 11-point first-quarter deficit and take a 61-49 half-time lead.
With their backs against the wall, down 16 points early in the third quarter, the Raptors responded, taking a 93-92 lead with 6:38 to play.
But they couldn’t match the Cavs’ firepower. Cleveland outscored Toronto 17-9 over the final 6:15, Irving producing all 11 points in one key 11-2 Cavs run.
James will be playing for a seventh consecutive NBA Finals appearance, having had four in a row with Miami and the past two with Cleveland, and his eighth overall. James is 3-4 in his trips to the championship series.