Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 16 News List

James, Cavaliers sweep Raptors

CHILD’S PLAY:All five Cleveland Cavaliers starters scored in double figures and Kevin Love continued his spring rebirth with 23 points in the 128-93 victory


Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James shoots against the Toronto Raptors in Game 4 of their NBA playoff series in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday.

Photo: David Richard-USA Today

Once the sweeping was done, LeBron James peeled off his jersey and headed toward the locker room.

He stopped on the way to share a moment with his two sons, who held basketballs while patiently waiting to take some shots.

James hugged his kids and rubbed their heads. He treated the Toronto Raptors the same way.

Child’s play.

James on Monday ended Toronto’s season for the third straight season with a second consecutive four-game sweep as the Cavs advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth year in a row with a 128-93 win in Game 4.

James finished with 29 points, 11 assists and spent some of the final 7 minutes, 38 seconds dancing near the bench during Cleveland’s 10th straight playoff win over Toronto, who changed their system, their roster and their approach, but still could not beat the game’s best player.

Pushed to the maximum for seven games by the Indiana Pacers in the first round, the Cavs took care of Toronto quickly — again.

“They were a well-balanced, put-together team this year,” James said, praising a team he has tormented. “They’ve built a very good team that can succeed in the post-season. I felt coming into the series this would be a tough challenge for us.”

Turns out, the Raptors still were not good enough.

Kevin Love added 23 points and J.R. Smith 15 for the Cavaliers, who can now rest while waiting for the Boston-Philadelphia semi-final series to end.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points and Kyle Lowry had 10 assists to lead the exasperated Raptors.

Toronto’s frustration hit its peak late in the third when All-Star DeMar DeRozan was ejected for a flagrant foul.

There will be no historic comeback.

Of the 130 teams to take a 3-0, all of them have won the series.

“They wanted it more than us,” Valanciuas said. “That’s about it. It was the mental stuff, not the basketball stuff that hurt us the most. It’s not like we didn’t want to [win]. We wanted to, but I think it was the frustration. We just lost our head.”

Cleveland are back in the finals again despite a turbulent regular season and a bumpy start to the playoffs after the Pacers pushed the Cavs to the brink of elimination.

James arrived at Quicken Loans Arena three hours before tip-off wearing a baseball cap that said: “Don’t Trip.”

If the message was directed at his teammates, they got it.

All five Cleveland starters scored in double figures and Love continued his spring rebirth.

“From Game 1, they were wonderful,” James said of his teammates. “I was horrible in Game 1 and they picked it up for me. So I tried to follow their lead going into Game 2 and all the way through Game 4.”

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