The Cleveland Cavaliers have now made it a habit to knock the Toronto Raptors out during their postseason run. They did it for a third consecutive season on Monday night, completing the sweep with a 128-93 blowout on their home floor in Game 4. LeBron James put up 29 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds, falling short of a triple-double, as the Cavaliers shot a stellar 59 percent from the floor. The win advances the Cavaliers to their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals, as well as LeBron's eighth straight, with four of them coming with the Miami Heat. "The King" was able to sit on the bench for the final 7:38 of the game, as the Cavaliers cruised to their 10th straight playoff win over the Raptors, and fifth straight win overall. Kevin Love chipped in with 23 points and J.R. Smith added 15 as the other contributors for the Cavs. The Raptors were led by Jonas Valanciunas's 18 points, while Kyle Lowry had 10 assists for the struggling Eastern Conference leaders. The Raptors showed many signs of frustration in the second half, including DeMar DeRozan's flagrant foul, which led to his ejection. This came just one game after he was benched in the fourth quarter of their Game-3 loss. The Cavaliers will now await the winner of the Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers series for a shot in the NBA Finals.
Sixers Avoid Sweep Against Celtics
The Philadelphia 76ers were not ready to go home on Monday night, refusing to fall quickly after a similarly quick first-round series victory. Dario Saric stepped up in Game 4 with 25 points, as the Sixers avoided the sweep with a 103-92 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night. T.J. McConnell stepped into the starting lineup with a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in just his second start of the season. He was inserted into the lineup after head coach Brett Brown decided to bench struggling forward Robert Covington, who shot a combined 0-for-14 in Games 1 and 3. The two big men each had double-doubles for Philadelphia on Monday, as Joel Embiid had 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Ben Simmons finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Philly used a big third quarter that saw them score 29 points to give them some more breathing room, which they held on to in the final 12 minutes. The Celtics were led by Jayson Tatum's 20 points, while Marcus Morris had 17 in the loss. Boston, minus both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, will look to set up a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers when they host Game 5 of the series at the TD Garden on Wednesday night.
Capitals Advance, Predators Force Game 7
We were oh so close to having both Conference Finals matchups set up in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday night, but one team put an end to that hope for now later in the night. First, the Washington Capitals overcame a constant obstacle in their postseason history by eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 with a 2-1 overtime victory. Evgeny Kuznetsov went five-hole on Penguins goaltender Matt Murray 5:27 into the extra period, giving the Capitals their first playoff series win over Pittsburgh since 1998. Alex Ovechkin was previously 0-for-3 in the postseason against the division rival, and was very emotional following the advancement on Monday. Alex Chiasson scored the lone regulation goal for the Caps, who got the win despite being without Nick Backstrom, Tom Wilson, and Andre Burakovsky. They will now square off with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators kept their season alive with an impressive 4-0 shutout of the Winnipeg Jets on the road in Game 6. Filip Forsberg scored twice, while Pekka Rinne made 34 saves for his second shutout of this postseason, to go along with the two times he's been pulled from a game. Viktor Arvidsson also found the back of the net twice, while Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen had two assists apiece. The Jets had their #Whiteout loud and proud, but could not give their faithful anything to cheer for, despite Connor Hellebuyck's 25 saves. They will be forced to go back to Nashville for the decisive Game 7 on Thursday night, with the Las Vegas Golden Knights waiting in the Western Conference Finals.