76ers

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).

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as second female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

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AP Images

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as second female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

The Sixers have made a a historic hire in their scouting department.

The team has hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as a full-time scout starting next season. 

"I think when you have this goal in mind, your gender shouldn't even matter," Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. "It should be about if you can do it, if you're good, you're experienced, if you know what you're doing and what you're talking about."

Harding, a Duke product and the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 WNBA draft, is just the second woman to be hired by an NBA team as a scout after a career in the WNBA. Jenny Boucek, who is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was the first former WNBA player to be hired as a scout back in 2006 by the Seattle SuperSonics. Becky Hammon, one of Harding's former opponents who urged Harding to pursue this path, was hired as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon has since been interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' GM job and been promoted to Gregg Popovich's top assistant.

Harding completed the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season after retiring in 2017. The 34-year-old guard spent nine seasons in the WNBA and represented Belarus in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"Lindsey has quickly become one of the game's bright young minds in basketball operations," Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown said to Shelbourne. "Having graduated from the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season, Lindsey is applying the same grit and basketball IQ she used as a player in her move to the front office. We look forward to the work Lindsey will do to help grow our program and further solidify a culture of winning.

"It's no secret how much I value the culture we've built in Philadelphia and how much a family-like atmosphere means to our program. Lindsey is a leader, and she is a welcomed addition to the 76ers family. I look forward to working with her."

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Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

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USA Today Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

Joel Embiid didn’t wait long to share his expectations for next season.

“This is my first year going into a summer healthy and I’m excited about it. I feel like next year is definitely going to be a type of MVP season for me,” Embiid said during the Sixers’ exit interviews just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs.

The summer months haven’t done much to curb the All-Star center’s enthusiasm.

“I want to win the MVP because if I play better I think the stats show that my team plays better too,” Embiid said during an interview with KweséESPN prior to this month’s NBA Africa Game. “That’s the goal. I’ve got to set the bar high if you want to go somewhere.”

You can’t blame the man for being confident in himself. And now Embiid even has the support of a former colorful NBA player in his own right.

Metta World Peace (or Tru Warier or The Panda’s Friend or Ron Artest) sent out a simple tweet earlier this week.

That’s about as cut and dry as you can get. Although World Peace did have another hot take this week that might call his crystal ball skills into question.

Whoa. You lost us on that one, World Peace.

Embiid has a much better chance at earning MVP honors than those two teams (mainly the Knicks) have of reaching the Eastern Conference finals. In Bovada's MVP odds released this week, the center came in at 16/1 (seventh best) to win the award.

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