Lebron sinks Raptors at buzzer

AFP
Lebron James banked in an off-balance floater at the buzzer, lifting Cleveland to a 105-103 win over the Toronto raptors and giving the Cavaliers a stranglehold 3-0 playoff series.
AFP
AFP

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James hits the game-winning shot over the outstretched hand of Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby to win Game 3 of their NBA Eastern Conference semifinals 105-103 in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday. 

Lebron James banked in an off-balance floater at the buzzer, lifting Cleveland to a 105-103 win over the Toronto Raptors and giving the Cavaliers a stranglehold 3-0 playoff series lead on Saturday.

James took an inbound pass and drove the length of the court, cut to the left and sank the running one-handed dagger off the backboard to stun the Raptors’ bench. The 10-footer came just seconds after Toronto had tied it 103-103 on OG Anunoby’s 3-pointer with 8 seconds on the clock.

“I live for those moments, to be able to go out and come through for my team,” James said. “I had to get open. There were no more timeouts. I was able to hit a floater off the glass.”

In the other second-round NBA Eastern Conference playoff game on Saturday, the Boston Celtics also took a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 101-98 overtime win at the Philadelphia 76ers.

Both Game 4’s are tomorrow, and the odds are stacked against Toronto and Philadelphia. Of the 129 teams in NBA history to fall behind 0-3, none has come back to win.

In Cleveland, James finished with 38 points, Kevin Love added 21 and 16 rebounds and Kyle Korver 18 for the Cavaliers, who can sweep the Raptors for the second consecutive year.

Kyle Lowry scored 27 for Toronto, which played most of the fourth with DeMar DeRozan on the bench.

After winning two games in Toronto, Cleveland returned home and did the same. James has Toronto’s number as he is 11-2 against it in the past 3 playoffs.

“We needed every bucket, every rebound, every possession,” he said. “That’s a gutsy win. We had to be patient and not feed off the physicality and continue to execute.”

In Philadelphia, Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and Terry Rozier added 18 as the Celtics reached the brink of the conference finals.

Jaylen Brown came off the bench to add 16 points for the Celtics while Al Horford contributed 13 points and Australian Aron Baynes grabbed 10 rebounds. “These are the kind of moments you want to be in as a basketball player,” Horford said.

Joel Embiid had 22 points and 19 rebounds to lead the 76ers, while JJ Redick added 18 points and Australian playmaker Ben Simmons contributed 16 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

A steal by Rozier set up a basket by Brown that gave the Celtics an 89-87 lead with 1 second left in regulation time, but the 76ers equalized when Italy’s Marco Belinelli sank a jumper off a pass from Simmons with 0.3 of a second remaining, sending the contest into overtime.

A Belinelli basket and Redick 3-pointer put the Sixers up 94-87 in OT, but the Celtics closed on a 12-4 run, Horford scoring the final 5 points to bring Boston the ultimate victory.

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