And so, the Cleveland Cavaliers are, for the fourth straight seasons, in the Finals of the NBA Eastern Conference after sweeping the Toronto Raptors, 4-0, in their best-of-seven Final Four series.
LeBron James and the Cavs, thus, await who they will meet for the Conference championship—either the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia 76ers, who are still facing of for the right in their half of the semis.
The Celts lead, 3-1, and could forge another “you or me” showdown with the Cavs should they emerge triumphant in Game 5 of the series.
The Cavs’ sweeping conquest of the Raptors brought to 130-0 the count for the teams, which lead, 3-0, winning a NBA playoff.
The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, became the second team in the post season to advance following their 112-102 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 5 on Tuesday in their separate semis series in the Western Conference.
The defending champion Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans are also fighting it out at press time to decide who between wilt battle the Rockets bragging rights as the ‘best in the west.’
Cleveland, working behind it offensive firepower in shooting 59.5 per cent from the field and 46.3 per cent beyond the arc, applied the big broom to Toronto for the second consecutive season, finishing off the Raptors 128-93 in Game 4 last Monday.
The Cavs 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.
Monday’s victory, likewise, raised to 10 the Cavs’ consecutive playoff victories over the Raptors coming from Toronto’s franchise record 59-win in the regular season, making them the No. 1 seed in the East.
This defeat came as more bitter for the Raptors, who did everything, including changing its style of play following last season, precisely to exact revenge with the Cavs only to come up short …. again.
Until this series, the Raptors had not lost more than two consecutive games this season.
From the start, James wanted to finish this series off and get rest. He started the series exhausted coming off a seven-game series against the Pacers.
The conference finals won’t begin until Sunday at the earliest. Realizing this, LBJ didn’t waste 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.
Teams with James at the forefront, 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.