Toronto Raptors

NBA Notes: Cavaliers ignoring last season's comeback after falling into 2-0 hole again

NBA Notes: Cavaliers ignoring last season's comeback after falling into 2-0 hole again

OAKLAND, Calif. -- LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are headed home in a familiar spot after the first two games of the NBA Finals.

Rather than reach back to last year's championship comeback for a confidence boost, James' focus is on figuring out what Cleveland must do to change its fortunes against a Warriors team that is fresher and far more dangerous this year, thanks to the addition of Kevin Durant.

"They're a different team," James said following a 132-113 loss in Game 2 on Sunday night that put Cleveland in an 0-2 hole.

That's been quite evident through two games. Durant leads all players with 71 points the first two games -- six more than the player he replaced in the lineup, Harrison Barnes, scored in seven games a year ago.

Durant's scoring has taken pressure off Stephen Curry and allowed the Warriors to withstand Cleveland runs so well that they haven't trailed after the first quarter in either game.

A healthy Curry followed up a 28-point Game 1 with his first postseason triple-double on Sunday with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He looks more like a two-time MVP than the hobbled player he was in last year's Finals.

Klay Thompson shook off a shooting slump to score 22 points and the Warriors pulled away late for another lopsided win.

"They play well at home," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. "They won their first two games like they're supposed to. Coming to a tough environment, we knew it was going to be tough, but they won the first two games. We get a chance to go home now to our home crowd where we play well, also" (see full story).

Warriors: Brown returns to Cleveland with Golden State
CLEVELAND -- Mike Brown happily slid into his normal seat to coach Steve Kerr's left for Game 2 of the NBA Finals. For the first time in weeks the Warriors were whole again.

Brown has moved before -- not always so willingly -- and over the next few days he'll return to a familiar place.

Golden State's well-liked top assistant, whose first two stints as a head coach were to nurture a young LeBron James and then pamper Kobe Bryant, is heading to Cleveland, the city that shaped him more than any other.

It's where he was hired twice and fired twice by the Cavaliers, who are paying him until 2020. It's where he raised his two sons. It's where he rooted himself in the community and stayed after losing his job in 2014. And it's where he still has a home and keeps one of his Harleys, which he took for cruises along Lake Erie to clear his mind.

"He loves those Harleys," said Warriors forward Draymond Green. "That just means he has `em in every city he goes to. That's an addiction."

When Game 3 tips off Wednesday night with the Warriors holding a 2-0 lead that feels insurmountable, Brown will be back in a building where he and James appeared in their first Finals together 10 years ago.

In 2007, the Cavs were no match for the powerful San Antonio Spurs, who overwhelmed Cleveland and swept the series. Brown can surely appreciate the irony in coming back as part of a juggernaut.

"Circle of life," Brown said last week. "Like the `Lion King,' everything comes back around, I guess" (see full story).

NBA Finals: TV ratings highest since 1998
CLEVELAND -- The first two games of the NBA Finals are the most-watched since Michael Jordan's final championship in 1998.

Despite two lopsided outcomes, Golden State's two home wins over Cleveland averaged 19.6 million viewers, according to numbers released Monday by the Nielsen company.

That's an increase of 5 percent from the 18.6 million average in 2016.

The Warriors' 132-113 victory on Sunday drew an average of 20.1 million viewers, up 13 percent from Game 2 last year and the most for a Game 2 since Chicago and Utah met in 1998. The telecast peaked with 23.1 million viewers.

This is the first time two teams have met three straight times in the NBA Finals.

Clippers: Team to host pair of preseason games in Hawaii
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers will host two preseason games against the Toronto Raptors in Honolulu this fall.

The games on Oct. 1 and 3 will be played at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii campus. That's where the Clippers will hold their training camp.

The Clippers will participate in a pregame fan fest at the Hawaii Convention Center as part of the Clippers Hawaii Classic event.

It will be the first time the Clippers have played a game in Hawaii.

NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers sweep Raptors, punch ticket to another Eastern Conference Finals

NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers sweep Raptors, punch ticket to another Eastern Conference Finals

TORONTO -- LeBron James scored 35 points, Kyrie Irving added 27 and the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a four-game sweep of Toronto, beating the Raptors 109-102 on Sunday to give James his seventh consecutive trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kyle Korver scored 18 points to help the Cavaliers become the first team to win eight straight playoff games the year following a title, and the first team to win eight straight in consecutive postseasons.

Channing Frye had 10 points, and Cleveland finished 16 for 41 from 3-point range.

They finished off the Raptors about an hour before Game 4 between the Celtics and Wizards tipped off in Washington.

That series won't end until Wednesday night at the earliest, and could run until Monday night, meaning the Cavaliers will have plenty of time to rest before the Eastern Conference Finals.

James added nine rebounds and six assists. Irving had nine assists.

Serge Ibaka scored 23 points, and DeMar DeRozan had 22 for the Raptors (see full recap).

Wizards use 26-0 run to rout Celtics in Game 4, tie series
WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal scored 29 points and the Washington Wizards used a 26-0 third-quarter run to beat the Boston Celtics 121-102 on Sunday night to tie the second-round NBA playoff series at two games apiece.

John Wall added 27 points and 12 assists for Washington. Wall had seven points, three assists and two steals during the third-quarter spree that featured eight Celtics turnovers. Otto Porter scored four of his 18 points in the dominant six-minute span that also included five points from Markieff Morris.

Trailing 53-48 before the run, Washington led 74-53 on Porter's layup with 5 minutes left in the third. The Wizards led by as many as 26 and outscored the Celtics (237-191) in the two games in D.C.

Isaiah Thomas had 19 points for Boston, but scored 17 in the first 15 minutes and was held to 1-of-6 shooting after.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston. The series winner will face Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals (see full recap).

Harden, Rockets rout Spurs to tie series
HOUSTON -- James Harden scored 28 points and Eric Gordon 22 as the Houston Rockets rebounded from consecutive losses to beat the San Antonio Spurs 125-104 on Sunday night and tie their NBA Western Conference semifinal at 2-2.

The Rockets never trailed and used hot 3-point shooting to pull away in the third quarter.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.

Jonathon Simmons had 17 points for the Spurs, and Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 apiece.

Houston made 22 3-pointers in a blowout win in Game 1, but had struggled from long-range in its two losses. The Rockets' 3-point shooting, a hallmark of their success in the regular season, got back on track Sunday when they made 19 of 43, led by six from Gordon (see full recap).

NBA Playoffs: Kelly Oubre Jr. suspended for Game 4 after shoving Celtics' Olynyk

NBA Playoffs: Kelly Oubre Jr. suspended for Game 4 after shoving Celtics' Olynyk

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. was suspended for Game 4 against the Boston Celtics after charging and knocking over Kelly Olynyk in Game 3.

The NBA on Saturday announced Oubre's suspension without pay for "charging and making forceful and unwarranted contact." Game 4 is Sunday evening in Washington.

Oubre called the suspension a consequence of his actions.

"I'm not surprised," Oubre said after practice Saturday. "The league has to do what they have to do. They have to handle that situation."

Oubre's outburst in the second quarter of Game 3 on Thursday resulted in a flagrant 2 foul and an ejection. Olynyk knocked him to the ground on an illegal screen, and Oubre leapt to his feet, sprinted at him and bowled him over.

The 21-year-old said he apologized to referee Monty McCutchen, who was talking to Olynyk at the time of the incident. Oubre said he did not reach out to apologize to Olynyk.

Washington coach Scott Brooks said he respects the league's decision and figured a suspension could be coming. Now he must decide how to approach Game 4 as his team trails Boston 2-1 in the second-round series.

"We've had a next man up mentality all year," Brooks said. "We've got options, we can move some people around. But not having him, it's not ideal, but it is what it is. You just go forward and play the game. You can't worry about who's not playing."

Brooks could find more minutes for Bojan Bogdanovic after the sharp-shooting forward scored 19 points in the Wizards' 116-89 victory in Game 3. Or he could plug another player into the rotation like Jason Smith (see full story).

Raptors: Kyle Lowry says he's 'doubtful' for Sunday
TORONTO -- All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry says he's doubtful to play for Toronto on Sunday in Game 4 of the Raptors' Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lowry has a sprained left ankle. He attempted to warm up before Game 3 on Friday before the determination was made that he could not play.

Lowry said trying to play likely made the ankle worse.

The Raptors trail the series 3-0. No team in NBA history has successfully rallied from such a deficit.

"Hopefully some things change, but right now I don't think I'll be able to play," Lowry said.

Lowry was getting more treatment Saturday, adding that he's not "giving up hope" of being ready to attempt playing in Game 4 (see full story).