Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives against Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) in the second quarter in game four of the second round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. In all, James finished with a cool 29 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists in 38 minutes.
DeRozan's miserable series continued Monday as he was ejected for a flagrant foul-2 with 23 seconds left in the third for catching Jordan Clarkson, who was soaring to the basket, on the head with his arm.
Jonas Valanciunas did his best to keep the Raptors in it with 18 points off the bench, but without their two All-Stars firing, the offense became all too predictable.
After needing seven games to dispatch the Indiana Pacers in the first round, Cleveland gets some rest as it waits for its conference finals opponent.
The Boston Celtics outlasted the Philadelphia 76ers and claimed a 101-98 victory in a pulsating encounter at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. DeMar DeRozan made meaningful, if insufficient, steps toward becoming a more complete player. Cleveland shot 65 per cent for the first quarter and 62 per cent for the first half. But no matter what the Raptors threw at them, James and the Cavs had the answers.
"Maybe they just got our number", he said.
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"They want the ball", Lue said.
"We had a heck of a season", said Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
Cleveland beat Toronto with a James buzzer beater in Game 3. Hill added six points, four of them coming on headlong drives to the rim for dunks that ignited the capacity crowd and the Cavs bench.
"Whatever LeBron needs, we'll get it done", the players say with confidence before adding, "as long as what he needs isn't basketball".
The work the Cavs put in defensively against one elite scorer (Oladipo) helped in their coverage of the next (DeRozan).
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No NBA team has ever rallied from an 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series, with 129 trying and failing.
On Sunday after practice, DeRozan had said he hated the waiting that came after LeBron's heartless Game 3 buzzer-beater. They shot a scorching 59.5 percent from the field for the game and had the Raptors' defense scrambling at every turn.
Toronto, which compiled a record season to finish first in the East, has been unable to fire on all cylinders against the Cavaliers.
Lue and James said they never saw the SNL skit, but clearly, confidence in Cavs camp is mighty high these days after things seemed pretty shaky less than two weeks ago when Cleveland trailed in 2-1.
And it showed. Cleveland outscored the Raptors by 74 with DeRozan on the floor, versus by 56 for the series. Game 4 was no exception.
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