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NBA playoffs: LeBron James rips the Raptors' hearts out one more time; Celtics push Sixers to brink

LeBron James moves a well-known pose after his last-second shot beat the Raptors Saturday evening in Cleveland. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports activities)

The Celtics and Cavaliers each took care of industrial, cementing Three-Zero collection leads. Get the entire data you want beneath, and catch up on Friday’s video games right here.

Time table | Pregame studying | Feedback phase Q&A

We Are All Witnesses.

And the Raptors are toast.

After OG Anunoby tied Recreation Three with a three-pointer with Eight.Eight seconds ultimate, LeBron James discovered a option to inflict much more ache on a Raptors franchise and fan base that has persisted such a lot already at his fingers.

James took the inbounds move and casually dribbled the ball up the left facet of the court docket, with Anunoby — a rookie who has performed an admirable task towards James — checking him.

James, regardless that, knew precisely what he sought after to do. He saved dribbling towards the baseline and, on the proper second, he leapt within the air and flicked the ball towards the rim along with his proper hand.

His goal couldn’t were truer. The ball softly kissed off the glass and fell in the course of the hoop because the buzzer sounded, giving Cleveland a 105-103 win over Toronto that despatched the sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Enviornment right into a frenzy and left the Raptors frozen and in surprise.

James completed with 38 issues, six rebounds, seven assists and 3 steals on 14-for-26 capturing in 41 mins for Cleveland, whilst Kevin Love added 21 issues and 16 rebounds and Kyle Korver added 18.

Kyle Lowry had 27 issues and 7 assists in 41 mins to guide Toronto, however the tale of the sport for the Raptors might be Trainer Dwane Casey’s resolution to bench big name guard DeMar DeRozan for the overall 14 mins of the sport.

With the win, Cleveland now has a Three-Zero lead within the collection, and is one victory clear of each a moment directly sweep over the Raptors, and knocking them out of the playoffs for a 3rd directly 12 months.

If Cleveland will get that win Monday in Recreation Four, the Raptors can have a protracted summer season forward of them — one during which James, and his repeated heroics towards them, will without a doubt be a ordinary nightmare.

A 15-6 run for the Raptors to start out the fourth quarter has Toronto again inside seven, 87-80, with a bit over seven mins to move within the fourth quarter.

The Raptors have fought admirably, in spite of trailing all the recreation, to provide themselves a possibility right here within the fourth quarter. A loss, clearly, would all however finish Toronto’s season.

Even a win would go away the Raptors in a difficult spot — that’s what occurs when a workforce loses the primary two video games on its house court docket. However a minimum of they’d have a possibility within the collection.

The following 8 mins will resolve if the Raptors may give themselves one.

Jonas Valanciunas merely can’t guard Kevin Love.

So why did Raptors Trainer Dwane Casey stick to his beginning lineup that includes that very matchup?

He simply subbed in Serge Ibaka for Valanciunas, but it surely does make you surprise why the transfer wasn’t to start out Ibaka and convey Valanciunas off the bench. It could appear that having Valanciunas within the recreation towards Tristan Thompson, and Ibaka towards Love, would make extra sense.

That mentioned, it will no longer subject given how Love is taking part in. After scoring a playoff-high 31 issues in Recreation 2, Love has 19 issues and 13 rebounds up to now in Recreation Three because the lead has been driven to 14 via 3 quarters.

LeBron James is taking part in like somebody who smells blood within the water.

With Cleveland keeping a 2-Zero lead over Toronto, the Cavaliers have a possibility to all however finish this collection with yet another victory. James is doing his preferrred to get that win.

At halftime, Cleveland leads 55-40, a lead that used to be constructed by way of the Cavaliers occurring a 16-Four run over the primary 6:53 of the sport, after which occurring a 16-2 run over the overall Five:07 of the primary part. That’s a 32-6 merit for Cleveland over precisely 12 mins.

James, as standard, has been on the coronary heart of it all. He has 15 issues, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, one thieve and one block in 21 mins. Kevin Love added 12 issues and 11 rebounds, whilst Kyle Korver had 12 issues, two rebounds and two assists.

DeMar DeRozan, however, has been terrible. He has 3 issues on 1-for-Nine capturing, and is a game-worst minus-22. C.J. Miles in reality leads the Raptors in scoring with 8 issues off the bench.

Having misplaced the primary two video games in their Jap Convention semifinal collection at house, Toronto made a lineup trade because the collection shifted to Cleveland for Recreation Three.

Fred VanVleet, Toronto’s excellent 6th guy, entered the beginning lineup, with Raptors Trainer Dwane Casey opting for to deliver Serge Ibaka off the bench as an alternative. The small lineup didn’t precisely paintings as Casey supposed, with Cleveland leaping out to a 16-Four lead.

However the Raptors controlled to chop the Cavaliers’ result in 24-19 after one due to a 15-Eight run to finish the quarter, in large part performed with Ibaka taking part in heart. After failing to get a block in both of the primary two video games of the collection, Ibaka had two within the first quarter on my own to lend a hand spark Toronto’s run to get again into the sport.

In a wild, wacky and exciting recreation, the Celtics emerged with a heart-stopping 101-98 additional time victory over the Sixers in Recreation Three in their Jap Convention semifinal. The win provides the Celtics a Three-Zero lead on this best-of-seven collection, a lead no workforce has ever given up in an NBA playoff collection.

Boston seemed find it irresistible received in legislation when Philadelphia dedicated a turnover that resulted in a Jaylen Brown dunk with 1.Eight seconds left to provide the Celtics a two-point lead. However Marco Belinelli hit a jumper within the nook proper in entrance of the Sixers’ bench to tie the sport and ship it to additional time.

Philadelphia then seemed find it irresistible used to be in keep watch over when it led by way of one with the ball with 42.Five seconds left. However Joel Embiid ignored a shot within the lane, and when Ben Simmons were given the offensive rebound, he selected to move up for a putback as an alternative of pulling the ball again out, and ignored because the shot clock used to be became off.

Boston then were given the rebound and, after bringing the ball up and calling timeout, Marcus Morris threw an excellent inbounds move to Al Horford, who had expertly sealed his defender, Robert Covington, on the rim, permitting Horford to catch the ball and lay it in to provide the Celtics a 99-98 lead.

Embiid then attempted to throw the ball in to Simmons after a Philadelphia timeout, however Horford then stole the ball, and upon getting fouled, made a couple of unfastened throws with 3 seconds left for the overall margin.

Belinelli then were given one ultimate probability to save lots of the Sixers a moment time, however his 30-foot heave – a greater glance than it gave the look of Philadelphia may just get, given the Sixers had no timeouts – hit the again of the rim and bounced away, giving the Celtics a wild win and pushing the Sixers to the edge of removal.

Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 24 issues for the Celtics, and used to be plus-24 in 41 mins. Embiid had 22 issues and 19 rebounds however went 10-for-26, with Boston’s plan of single-covering him and sticking to Philadelphia’s perimeter gamers — none of whom can create their very own shot — operating like a allure as soon as once more.

What a flip of occasions in Philadelphia.

Simply when it gave the look of a catastrophic turnover by way of J.J. Redick used to be going at hand Boston a Three-Zero lead on this Jap Convention semifinal, the Sixers inbounded the ball with 1.Eight seconds to visit Marco Belinelli, who buried a nook jumper proper in entrance of Philadelphia’s bench to tie the rating 89-89 on the finish of legislation.

That wasn’t the top of the strangeness, on the other hand. As it seemed first of all like Belinelli shot a three-pointer — his foot used to be obviously over the road — confetti started falling from the ceiling of Wells Fargo Heart in Philadelphia, and folks started to hurry the ground.

The beginning of additional time used to be behind schedule as a result of the confetti nonetheless falling from the ceiling, which ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth mentioned needed to forestall totally sooner than the referees can restart the sport for well being and protection causes.

Sooner or later, the groups have been ready to renew this wild recreation.

Joel Embiid has picked up every other frame on this recreation – this time Al Horford, with an enormous dunk to tie the sport at 83 past due within the fourth.

Embiid might want a couple extra of those to tug out a win for the Sixers.

The Sixers have not up to 12 mins to save lots of their season.

Extra stifling protection from the Celtics has tied early within the fourth quarter. Philadelphia has been held below 40 % from the sphere, and in large part saved out of transition (the Sixers have 16 speedy spoil issues, however six of the ones got here in a single spurt proper on the finish of the second one quarter). The end result has been the Celtics controlling the tempo of play right through, and leaving this recreation unsure heading into the overall mins.

Down 2-Zero within the collection, it’s do-or-die time for the Sixers. Given how this recreation has performed out, whether or not that may equivalent luck for them could be very a lot unsure.

The Sixers made a gigantic run past due within the first part to seize keep watch over of this recreation. Why? As a result of they’ve begun to push the pace at each and every alternative, and just right issues have adopted.

Philadelphia now leads at halftime 51-48, due to that 13-Zero run, powered by way of some stops defensively, after which the usage of the ones stops to create simple appears offensively, the categories that Boston’s remarkable halfcourt protection totally thwarted previous in each the sport and the collection.

Joel Embiid leads the Sixers with 11 issues, 8 rebounds, one lend a hand, one thieve and one block in 16 mins, having taken 13 photographs — 5 greater than some other participant at the Sixers, every other indication of Brad Stevens being prepared to let Embiid shoot whilst no longer letting someone else get going. Ben Simmons, in the meantime, has 8 issues and 5 assists on Four-for-6 capturing, and appears way more engaged than he did in Recreation 2.

Each Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have 3 fouls for Boston, which might be one thing to observe in the second one part. Tatum has 11 issues for Celtics, and is their handiest participant in double-figures.

Boston used to be outscored 26-16 within the 7:12 Tatum sat the bench to finish the primary part after choosing up his 1/3 foul. Philadelphia has a 12-Three edge in speedy spoil issues, and has scored 10 issues on 8 Boston turnovers.

Joel Embiid simply ended Aron Baynes.

Overdue within the first part, Ben Simmons driven the ball, up court docket, hit a trailing Embiid as he got here lumbering down the lane in the back of him, and the 7-foot-2 heart rose up and completely demolished Baynes, who futilely attempted to get in Embiid’s approach when it could were in his preferrred passion to easily get the hell out of the best way.

The end result, because the Sixers’ Twitter account fortuitously recounted, used to be Baynes being posterized in one of the dunks no longer handiest within the playoffs, however all the 2017-18 season.

Giant second for the Celtics, with Jayson Tatum choosing up his 1/3 foul with greater than 8 mins to move in the second one quarter.

Tatum, who leads Boston with 11 issues, has taken on a fair larger position than he did all over the common season within the wake of Kyrie Irving’s season-ending harm.

His manufacturing has helped Boston construct a 35-25 lead, as he’s long past Five-for-6 from the sphere to move with 3 rebounds and two assists.

Brad Stevens first of all left Tatum within the recreation, however simply took him out with seven mins to move within the first part. Stevens will most probably attempt to stay Tatum at the bench right here in hopes of fending off him choosing up a fourth foul sooner than halftime.

Thru 9 quarters of Sixers-Celtics, Boston Trainer Brad Stevens has obviously caught to a selected technique: Let Joel Embiid do his factor, and take a look at to restrict everybody else.

Embiid already has 9 photographs early in the second one quarter, going Four-for-Nine with 8 issues to move with six rebounds and a blocked shot.

However in spite of that manufacturing, Boston is profitable 28-22. Why? As a result of the remainder of the Sixers are Five-for-20, together with 2-for-10 from 3.

If the Celtics can prohibit the “others” for the Sixers to these forms of numbers, they’ll be content material with leaving Embiid one-on-one for the remainder of the collection. He’s going to post quite a lot of manufacturing that approach, but when nobody else does, it doesn’t subject.

After Ben Simmons totally flopped in Recreation 2 of the Sixers’ Jap Convention semifinal collection with the Celtics, all eyes might be on him because the collection shifts again to Philadelphia.

The previous two days were spent dissecting the whole thing Simmons did — or, in fact, didn’t do — in his 31 mins at the court docket within TD Lawn. He scored one level whilst going Zero-for-Four from the sphere with 5 rebounds, seven assists, 5 turnovers and used to be a game-worst minus-23, taking a look torpid and wasn’t just about as competitive as he usually is.

It is a massive second for Simmons. Philadelphia got here into this collection as the favourite to advance, given Boston’s myriad accidents. Now, after the Celtics took the primary two video games and Simmons used to be a no-show on a countrywide degree, he’ll wish to go back to the shape he’s proven right through the common season and the primary few video games of the playoffs, versus his no-show in Recreation 2.

If he does, the Sixers could make this a chain once more, even trailing 2-Zero. If he doesn’t? Neatly, Boston might be heading to the Jap Convention finals.

Time table:

Boston Celtics 101, Philadelphia 76ers 98 (OT) (Celtics lead, Three-Zero)

Cleveland Cavaliers 105, Toronto Raptors 103 (Cavaliers lead Three-Zero)

Further studying:

Dollars will make Becky Hammon first lady to interview for NBA head training task

Donovan Mitchell on dunk vs. Rockets: ‘I simply took place to be up there’

Dragging those wrong Cavs to the NBA Finals could be LeBron James’s maximum outstanding feat

Charles Barkley apologizes for pronouncing he sought after to punch Draymond Inexperienced within the face

Steph Curry comes off bench to vault Warriors to 2-Zero lead; Raptors misplaced a recreation they needed to win

World Ambassador begins battle! Drake and Kendrick Perkins skirmish in Toronto!

NBA Podcast: USA As of late’s Sam Amick at the West playoffs, what’s subsequent for Paul George and Portland

Why is there a snake at the Philadelphia 76ers’ court docket?

Spectacular because it used to be, the Pacers’ Victor Oladipo isn’t happy along with his breakout season

John Wall needs the Wizards to overtake their roster. They most probably received’t be capable to.

The Miami Warmth wager giant on Hassan Whiteside. It sounds as if they made a mistake. Now what?

The only-and-done rule is at the approach out — as a result of NBA cash, no longer NCAA morals

It seems like the top of an technology for the San Antonio Spurs

After first-round sweep, Blazers’ subsequent steps may just come with buying and selling away their stars

‘All my preferrred video games I used to be medicated’: Matt Barnes on his game-day use of marijuana

Adam Silver: Some of the WNBA’s issues is that no longer sufficient younger ladies take note of it

NBA, Twitch achieve deal on 2K League streaming rights

Remark Q&A

Hop into the feedback phase beneath to talk with The Submit’s Tim Bontemps about your entire NBA questions.

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