Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are rolling through the playoffs. They finished off the Toronto Raptors in game four of the second round, 109-102.
Cleveland Cavaliers 109 – Toronto Raptors 102
This marks the eleventh win in a row in the playoffs dating back to last year’s NBA finals when the Cavaliers trailed the Golden State Warriors, 3-1. Cleveland came back to win in epic proportions and the winning streak lives on. The win today sends the Cavaliers to the Eastern Conference finals for the third straight season. They will host the winner of the Washington Wizards-Boston Celtics series.
Lebron James played with incredible consistency in this series. In three of the four games, he scored exactly 35 points. The third of the 35-point performances came in game four as well as nine rebounds and five assists. Cleveland also found a remarkable performance from Kyrie Irving who scored 27 points with nine assists. Both players were able to find open threes as well as open three-point shooters. The execution from the Cleveland leaders resulted in the team shooting 39 percent in a hostile environment in Toronto. The three-point shot ultimately led the Cavaliers to another playoff victory on the road.
Houston Rockets 125 – San Antonio Spurs 104
Houston came into Sunday’s game with all of the pressure on their shoulders. Desperately needing a win, the Rockets came away with a 125-104 victory to even the series at 2-2. If Houston had lost, they’d be heading to San Antonio needing to win three straight games to keep their season alive. Instead, they’ll go to San Antonio knowing that no matter what happens they will play one more game at home.
Houston drastically relies on the three-point shot in their offense. They have games where it kills them but also games where it runs the opposing team off the floor. Game four was one where the deep shots were falling as they shot 44.2 percent. James Harden leads this offensive juggernaut. He came through for his team with 28 points while dishing 12 assists and grabbing five rebounds. Eric Gordon was the recipient of many James Harden passes on the three-point line where he shot 6-of-9 to finish with 22 points.
On the other bench, San Antonio really struggled to keep up with Houston. The Spurs never led in the game and trailed by double-digits for the majority of the second half. Fortunately, the Spurs had the lead in the series after winning game three in Houston. Expect for the Spurs to come out and play better in game five in front of their home crowd. A loss at home could be the last one on their home floor for the Spurs. They’ll do everything they can to avoid a bitter ending to a solid season.
Washington Wizards 121 – Boston Celtics 102
Washington faced a similar situation that Houston went through in game four. Win and go on the road with the series tied. Or lose and hit the road needing three straight victories to stay alive. The Wizards took the pressure of the game and used it to create a high sense of urgency in their style of play. They ran in transition as much as possible which is always a good idea with John Wall running the point. Washington used the turnover to start the offensive transition as they forced 13 steals as a team. Wall found five of those steals which went a long way for his final stat line of 27 points and 12 assists. This postseason is officially a breakout for the 26-year-old superstar. He’s averaging 29 ppg with 11 apg so far in the postseason as well as shooting 35.9 percent from three. Wall is in just his third playoff appearance and is proving his game elevates on the bigger stage.
Boston heads home after a tough loss where they did not play well. They stayed in the game for the first half but the wheels fell off in the third quarter. Washington won the third 42-20 and even went on a 25-0 run to kill the Celtics chances. Isiah Thomas struggled after Washington dedicated themselves to shut him down. He finished with 19 points but couldn’t get his team going down the stretch. Thomas and the Celtics looked like a different team in their two home victories early in this series. They will need to get back to their winning ways when they head back home to game five in order to keep up with the runnin’ Wizards.