LeBron James has made a habit of recording first-round victories, in fact, he hasn't fell in the opening series in years, and that trend continued on Sunday afternoon. James had 33 points to help advance the Cleveland Cavaliers to the second round with a 106-102 win over the Indiana Pacers, completing the series sweep. LeBron made a clutch three-pointer with just over a minute remaining to secure his 21st straight first-round win and 10th career series sweep, both of which set NBA records. "King James" also added 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals, and two blocks, while shooting 13-of-25 from the field. LeBron has also become accustomed to eliminating the Pacers from the playoffs, doing so in four of the past six seasons, and has now handed them their first series sweep in franchise history. Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 22 points in their final game of the season, while Paul George had a series-low 15 points in the loss. The Cavs become the first team to advance in this postseason, as the Golden State Warriors are the only other team that could sweep their way past the first round.
Rockets Edge Thunder for Commanding Series Lead
Despite James Harden struggling in Game 4 on the road, the Houston Rockets found a way to come back and head home with a convincing series lead. Harden had just 16 points, but Nene shot perfect from the field and finished with 28 points in a 113-109 Rockets win over the Thunder in OKC. The win gives them a 3-1 series lead heading back home, as their big man made all 12 of his shot attempts while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each added 18 points and Trevor Ariza contributed 14 to help the Rockets overcome Harden's 5-for-16 effort. Oklahoma City once again got off to a fast start, leading for much of the first half, but could not hang on down the stretch. Russell Westbrook had himself a triple-double by halftime and finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists in the loss. He recorded the fastest triple-double in NBA Playoff history and became the second player to record three straight triple-doubles in the postseason. After the game, he got into it with a reporter who asked Steven Adams about the Thunder's lack of production with Westbrook on the bench. The point guard would not let the big man answer the question, cutting the reporter off until he handed the mic off for the "next question." Game 5 of the series will be back in Houston on Tuesday night.
Capitals, Senators Advance With Overtime Wins
There were two spots left for the second round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs heading into Sunday and both of those spots were filled in Game 6's. First, the Ottawa Senators ended the Boston Bruins' comeback chances on the road, as Clarke MacArthur slammed home his second goal of the series in overtime, giving the Senators a 3-2 overtime win. The goal came with the man advantage just 6:30 into the extra period off the stick of the man who missed nearly two full seasons with a major injury. Craig Anderson made 28 saves in front of his wife, who is battling cancer, and helped lead the Senators to their first postseason series win since 2013. Tuukka Rask made 26 saves, while Drew Stafford and Patrice Bergeron found the back of the net for the Bruins, who did not get a shot off in overtime. The Senators will go against the New York Rangers in the second round, which will begin on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals also played spoiler on the road, as Marcus Johansson scored at 6:31 of overtime to advance the Caps past the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 2-1 Game-6 victory. The game-winner was the second goal of the game for Johansson, which was his first two of the series. Auston Matthews scored his fourth of the series for the lone goal of the game on Toronto's side. That gave the Leafs the lead with over 12 minutes left in regulation before Johansson tied it just four minutes later. Braden Holtby had a solid effort with 37 saves, while Frederik Andersen looked just as sharp with 34 saves on the other end of the ice. The Maple Leafs out-shot the Capitals 38-36 overall, but very few posed as legitimate threats for Holtby. The Capitals will host Game 1 of their second round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins beginning on Thursday night.