TORONTO — LeBron James scored 35 points, Kyrie Irving finished with 27 and the Cleveland Cavaliers raced into the Eastern Conference Finals with a 109-102 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
The victory saw James and Co. completed a four-game sweep of Toronto, while the Cavaliers, who had also swept the Pacers, became the first team to start 8-0 in back-to-back playoffs.
Kyle Korver made 4-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 18 points off the bench, while Channing Frye finished with 10 off the bench as well for Cleveland, which is the first team to win eight straight playoff games the year after winning a championship.
James, who became the first player in postseason history to score at least 35 points in every game of a four-game sweep, also added nine rebounds and six assists and Irving ended with nine assists and four steals for the Cavs, who will now be inactive before the Eastern Conference Finals.
“It’s rewarding when you can advance,” James said. “It’s not just given to you, you have to go out and earn it.
“Once again I’m part of a team that’s been able to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. It’s going to be my ninth time in 14 years. I’ll take those numbers.”
LeBron added: “The fact that we play our best basketball in the postseason lets us know that we’re up for the challenge.”
Serge Ibaka scored 23 points to lead the way for Toronto, which had 0 fast break points and trailed by as many as 16 points.
DeMar DeRozan added 22 points and eight assists, Cory Joseph had 20 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for the Raptors, who lost in six games against the Cavaliers last year in the Conference Finals.
“It’s on us to let this sink in and understand we gotta come back better, individual and team-wise,” DeRozan said.
P.J Tucker had 14 points, 12 assists and four steals in his first career playoff start, and Norman Powell ended with 10 points and six rebounds in the defeat for Toronto, which took the lead in the fourth-quarter, but couldn’t dodge the series sweep.
“When LeBron is shooting the 3 ball the way he is, at the rate he’s shooting it, they’re difficult,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.
“”It’s going to take a Herculean effort to beat them.”
All-Star point guard Irving was happy with yet another postseason sweep, as the Cavaliers get more days off.
“We needed that, we needed to be tested throughout 48-minute games,” he said. “One of the hardest things to do is sweep teams.
“We understand how important it is to come in and get a win and get rest.”