LeBron hits buzzer beater as Cavs and Celtics go up 3-0

USP NBA: PLAYOFFS-TORONTO RAPTORS AT CLEVELAND CAV S BKN CLE TOR USA OH

Image: Ken Blaze

King James rules the Raptors

Oops, he did it again.

That’s what the Cavaliers will be thinking after watching LeBron James’ one-handed floater fading away that banked in, beating the buzzer and breaking the Toronto Raptors’ hearts.

In yet another masterful performance this postseason, James scored 38 points and added 7 assists, but his last bucket was his most important.

The Raptors had cut a 17-point Cavaliers lead to zero, O.G. Anunoby draining a three-pointer (four-for-seven from three) with eight seconds tying the game.

But as he did against Indiana in the first round, LeBron found a way and hit the game winner, making him the only player in the last 15 postseasons to score multiple buzzer-beaters in a single postseason.

The win puts the Cavs up 3-0 and all but ends Toronto’s record breaking season as no team has ever won a playoff series when down 3-0 (129-0 alltime).

Kevin Love was again at his All-Star best, recording 21 points and 16 rebounds and keeping the Cavaliers ahead late in the third quarter when LeBron was resting.

He scored seven straight points for the reigning Eastern Conference champions, using post moves and dribble drives in some of his best minutes this postseason.

The loss breaks the backs of the Raptors, as their best efforts in overcoming such a large deficit were for naught.

Kyle Lowry had his best game of the postseason, scoring 27 points, 15 coming in the fourth quarter alone as running mate and fellow All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan went cold, finishing with just 8 points on three-for-12 shooting and a minus 23 plus-minus.

The Cavaliers have the opportunity to sweep the Raptors for the second straight postseason in Game 4 and advance to their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals.

‘Playoff Al’ puts the Celtics on the brink

The underdogs did it again.

Al Horford’s driving layup with 5.5 seconds remaining gave the Boston Celtics the 99-98 lead that sealed Game 3 and all but sets up a second straight Cavaliers-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals.

The tight contest went back and forth in the fourth quarter and overtime, as each side hit tough shots.

But it was the Celtics, led by their veteran centre, who ended victorious.

Horford scored six of his 13 in the fourth quarter and overtime, aided by super rookie Jayson Tatum who recorded a game-high 24 points.

Boston has never lost a series when up 3-0 and will look to close out the Sixers in Game 4 on Tuesday.

The Sixers will rue bad possessions and sloppy passes as they blew multiple opportunities to win the game late.

The game wasn’t without controversy as the home side were able to tie the game with a Marco Belinelli buzzer-beater to end regulation, despite a turnover that gave the Celtics the lead seconds earlier.

Many in the building had thought Philadelphia had won, including the team’s confetti cannon operators, who prematurely shot off the cannon’s and delayed the start of overtime as the referees waited for all the confetti to fall and be swept off the court.

The mishap summed up Philadelphia’s late game offensive execution, meaning they’ll need to make NBA history if they are to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Joel Embiid recorded 22 points and 19 rebounds for the 76ers but shot just 10-for-26 from the field, while Ben Simmons bounced back from his disastrous Game 2 and scored 16 points, adding eight rebounds and eight assists.

The win sets up a chance for the Celtics to make the Conference Finals despite missing their two best players, a remarkable achievement for a group that has once again defied the odds.

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