The Cavaliers aim for a series sweep on Monday night against the Toronto Raptors in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Tipoff from The Q is at 8:30 p.m. (ET).
Following a thrilling, buzzer-beating finish to Game 3, the Wine & Gold own a 3-0 lead over the Atlantic Division Champions after topping the Raptors, 105-103, on Saturday night.
LeBron James sealed both the win and a three-game series advantage after knocking down a 10-foot driving bank shot as time expired to give Cleveland the victory on Saturday night. It was James’ fifth career playoff game-winning buzzer-beater, including the second one this postseason (4/25/18 vs. IND). The last player with two-plus game-winning field goals (in the last five seconds) in one postseason was Robert Horry (2002).
Game 3 was a microcosm of how well the Wine & Gold have played this series. Through all three contests, the Cavs are averaging 115.3 points (.491 FG%, .395 3FG%), 22.7 assists and just 7.0 turnovers.
Following Saturday’s win, Cleveland has now won 14 of their last 16 games against Toronto (regular and postseason), which includes nine straight playoff wins. Cleveland is also 11-1 at The Q against the Raptors since December 2014.
On Monday, the Cavs can extend that run to 10 straight over Toronto. On all nine occasions when leading 3-0 in any playoff series, the Cavs have gone on to sweep their opponents (2007 First Round vs. WAS, 2009 First Round vs. DET, 2009 Semifinals vs. ATL, 2015 First Round vs. BOS and 2015 Conference Finals vs. ATL, 2016 First Round vs. DET, 2016 Semifinals vs. ATL, 2017 First Round vs. IND, 2017 Semifinals vs. TOR).
Also, if the Cavaliers do sweep their Eastern Conference rivals on Monday, they will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth straight season, as well as the eighth time in franchise history (1976, 1992, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017).
When Game 4 tips off, fans can be on the lookout for two potential milestones in the same category: all-time postseason three-pointers made. JR Smith is just two threes shy of passing Chauncey Billups (267 3FGM) for ninth place on that list while his fellow starter, Kyle Korver (218 3FGM), is only four three-pointers made away from moving past Jason Terry (221 3FGM) for 15th all-time in postseason play.
Where to Catch the Action
FOX Sports Ohio: Before and after all Cavs playoffs games, FOX Sports Ohio will provide pre- and postgame coverage hosted by Jeff Phelps and Campy Russell that will include reporting and analysis from Fred McLeod, Austin Carr and Allie Clifton, with guest appearances from former Cavs coach Mike Fratello.
TV: NBA on TNT
Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega
While LeBron James’ buzzer-beater in Game 3 was surely the featured highlight of the night, there were a number of other excellent performances that helped earn the Cavs a 3-0 series advantage.
James registered a game-high 38 points (14-26 FG, 9-11 FT), seven assists, six rebounds, three steals and one block in 41 minutes during the Game 3 victory. He has now led Cleveland in points and assists in 11 consecutive playoff games, passing Oscar Robertson (10 such games) for the longest such streak in NBA postseason history.
LBJ also has 348 points in the 2018 Playoffs, the most points by any NBA player through the first 10 contests of a postseason since 1992 (Michael Jordan, 354). He has four 40-point games this postseason (most since 2009) and is leading the NBA in ppg at 34.8.
Kevin Love notched his second straight double-double (third of 2018 Playoffs) in Game 3 with 21 points and a game-high 16 rebounds in 38 minutes. It was his second career 20-15 game (5/6/16 at ATL), becoming just the fourth player in Cavs playoff history with multiple playoff games of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds (LeBron James-6, Brad Daugherty-4 and Larry Nance-2). Love also moved into fourth place on the Cavs’ all-time postseason scoring list, passing Brad Daugherty (782 PTS) and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (784 PTS).
Kyle Korver also dazzled from the floor on Saturday, posting 18 points on 6-8 (.750) shooting, including a 4-6 (.667) mark from distance, four rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes in Game 3. Dating back to last year’s postseason, the Cavs are now 8-0 when Korver connects on four or more three-pointers (5-0 this postseason).
Jeff Green has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, including every game this series. Through the first three games versus Toronto, Green is averaging 13.7 points on .583 (14-24) shooting from the field, including .500 (5-10) from beyond the arc, and 1.3 blocks in 26.3 minutes.
For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry continues to be the team’s beacon of hope after he was the only player on his team to score more than 20 points (27) in Game 3. So far this series, he is averaging an impressive .629 field-goal percentage as well as 22 ppg in 38.3 minutes per.
Toronto’s bench played well on Saturday, posting two double-digit scoring outings from CJ Miles (13) and Serge Ibaka (11). Ibaka also had eight rebounds and four big-time blocks against the Cavaliers.
As mentioned, if the Cavs can sweep the Raptors on Monday night, then they will then move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, tipping off against either the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia 76ers pending the conclusion of their series (BOS leads PHI 3-0). If Toronto extends the series, then Game 5 will take place in The 6ix on Wednesday night. Tipoff time from the Air Canada Centre is still to be determined, but it will be hosted on TNT.