The parade starts



The parade starts

Postby hongwei28 » 20 Aug 2018, 05:29

Their doubters are dropping off as quickly as the competition.

Only one team has advanced to the conference finals in these NBA playoffs Cheap Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey , and it’s the same squad that looked vulnerable during a chaotic regular season, beatable in the postseason and was one loss from a possible franchise collapse.

The ending’s been postponed. The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t nearly finished.

On Monday night, the Cavs completed their second straight four-game sweep of the Toronto Raptors, the East’s top team and the one that was supposedly built to dethrone them, with a 128-93 win in Game 4 that has perhaps changed Cleveland’s outlook.

LeBron James, whose future hangs over this city like a looming thunderstorm, scored 29 points with 11 assists and eight rebounds on 12 of 19 shooting – an ordinary performance by his standards – as the Cavs won their 10th straight over the Raptors with one of their most complete games in months.

After all the injuries, the failed Isaiah Thomas experiment, the roster overhaul at the trading deadline and other distractions, the Cavs, who can get some rest while waiting for the Philadelphia-Boston winner, are peaking at the right time.

Their path to the East finals wasn’t straight. But they arrived.

”We’ve had four or five seasons wrapped in one, we know what the narrative has been about our team,” said James, who averaged 34 points, 8.3 rebounds and 11.3 assists in the series. ”But I can only speak in the moment. To be able to put ourselves in position where we can represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals Cassius Marsh Jersey Elite , that’s all you can ask for. So we’re excited about being part of the Eastern Conference finals once again and having the opportunity to compete for a championship.

”That is what our goal is.”

James has been reluctant to discuss the Cavs’ chances to win a title or get back to the Finals for the fourth straight year, but his confidence has grown with each victory.

Kevin Love, who struggled in a seven-game scrap with Indiana in the first round, had another solid game with 23 points. Kyle Korver added 16, J.R. Smith scored 15 on 6-for-6 shooting and point guard George Hill, who was sidelined for three games in the Pacers series, added 12.

The Cavs were balanced and were finally able to take some of the pressure off James, who had seemingly been abandoned by his teammates through much of the postseason.

In fact, things had gotten so bad that ”Saturday Night Live” did a skit last weekend that went viral on social media called ”The Other Cavaliers,” a parody that poked fun at Cleveland’s supporting cast.

James, though, said his faith never wavered.

”I believe in my teammates so as everyone was burying my teammates alive throughout that first-round series, I just continued to tell them, `Listen, we can’t win without each and every one doing their jobs and being as great as they can be,” James said. ”I continued to preach that so it’s impossible for me to lose confidence in our ballclub no matter what the stakes are or where we’re down because if I do that – then where are we going to go from a team aspect?”

After winning 59 games in the regular season http://www.ramsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-john-franklin-myers-jersey , the Raptors had the East’s top seed and figured that this was their year. James had other plans.

Toronto came into the series feeling great. By the end, the Raptors were defeated and deflated. Exactly one year since they were last swept by James, he did it to them again.

”Everyone had counted Cleveland out,” said coach Dwane Casey, whose job could be in jeopardy. ”They struggled a little bit. They had the big trade and all that. Everyone thought they were vulnerable but as long as they have him, they have a chance and that’s what we were looking at. But 10 days ago we had all the confidence in the world.”

As the Cavs look ahead to a matchup with either the Sixers or Celtics, who lead that series 3-1 and host Game 5 on Wednesday, Love’s renaissance gives Cleveland the most comfort.

The All-Star was rendered ineffective in Round 1 by the Pacers, whose big men battered him and took Love out of his game.

But despite cries to bench Love or move him back from center to power forward, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue stuck with him, and in doing so may have prolonged Cleveland’s season.

Love said there was nothing magical about his turnaround.

”It just came from me being me,” he said. ”I didn’t forget how to play basketball, I was just ultra-aggressive. I found myself in spots, I found myself just missing little chippies, missing shots that were uncharacteristic of me to miss. But I continued to be aggressive, continued to put in the work every single day. So for me it was just more than anything it was just me being myself.”

And now the Cavs appear to be themselves.

Victor Oladipo scored 32 points and the Indiana Pacers held off Cleveland’s second-half rally for a stunning 98-80 victory Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series Authentic Chukwuma Okorafor Jersey , handing LeBron James and the Cavaliers‘ their first loss in the opening round in eight years.

Indiana was in control from the outset, opening a 21-point lead in the first quarter and leading by 23 in the third. The Cavs stormed back and got within seven, but Oladipo hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with a 3 to make it 88-71.

The Pacers completely outplayed the three-time defending conference champions, whose turbulent regular season has carried over into the playoffs.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

James scored 24 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his 20th career triple-double. But James got little help as Cleveland’s four other starters – Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Rodney Hood and George Hill – combined for 25 points.

This is all new to James, who had won 21 consecutive first-round games and lost a postseason for the first time in his 13th playoffs. The 33-year-old is trying to get to his eighth straight Finals, and already the path is tougher than imagined.

Cleveland had won 14 straight first-round games, last losing on April 22, 2010, the last season of James’ first stint with the Cavs. Indiana was swept by Cleveland in last year’s opening round.

CELTICS 113, BUCKS 107, OT

BOSTON (AP) – Al Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Boston overcame Khris Middleton’s long 3 that beat the fourth-quarter buzzer to top Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series.

The Celtics led 99-96 with 0.5 seconds left in regulation when Middleton took an inbounds pass on the far right wing and hit a contested 35-footer.

Terry Rozier added 23 points, four rebounds and three assists for Boston in his first career playoff start. Jaylen Brown finished with 20 points, and rookie Jayson Tatum added 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 35 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out in overtime. Middleton had 31 points Mason Rudolph Color Rush Jersey , eight rebounds and six assists.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Boston.

ROCKETS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 101

HOUSTON (AP) – James Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run that allowed Houston to outlast Minnesota in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

Minnesota scored four straight points to get within 3 with about 30 seconds left. Chris Paul added two free throws after that for Houston, but a tip-in by Karl-Anthony Towns got Minnesota back within 3. After a bad pass by Paul gave Minnesota a chance to tie with 1.5 seconds left, Jimmy Butler’s shot was short.

The top-seeded Rockets had their hands full with the No. 8 Timberwolves on a night where Houston made just 10 of 37 3-pointers. Harden made 7 of 12 3-pointers, but Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon and Paul combined to make just 3 of their 22 tries.

Houston kept All-Star big man Towns in check, limiting him to just eight points. Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points to lead Minnesota.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.

THUNDER 116, JAZZ 108

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Paul George scored 36 points to help Oklahoma City beat Utah in Game 1 of the Western Conference series.

George set an Oklahoma City playoff record with eight 3-pointers, blowing past the previous record of five. He made 8 of 11 shots from long range, and 13 of 20 shots overall. It was his first playoff game with the Thunder since being acquired in a trade with Indiana in the offseason.

Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 15 points for the Thunder Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but he left in the second half with left foot soreness. He returned in the fourth quarter but was noticeably hobbling.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

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