The Cleveland Cavaliers sent a strong message on Sunday after defeating fellow Eastern Conference powerhouse Toronto Raptors. On the other hand, the Philadelphia 76ers are now in a good position to get homecourt advantage in the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
LeBron James had a huge night to lead the Cavaliers to a hard-earned 132-129 win over the Raptors on Wednesday night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. James finished with 25 points, 17 assists, seven rebounds, and one steal. The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player did not commit a turnover against the Raptors.
The Raptors had a strong second quarter, and built a 79-64 lead at the half. However, the Cavaliers made a huge rally in the third quarter to bring the lead down to one, heading into the final period. Cleveland sustained their momentum, and knocked down big shots down the stretch en route to the win.
Kevin Love also had a productive night, as he finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds to go along with four assists. George Hill had 22 points on 10-for-11 shooting, while Jeff Green and Jose Calderon ended up with 15 and 14 points for Cleveland, respectively.
With the win, the Cavaliers improved to 42-29 to remain third in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto, on the other hand, dropped to 53-19, but they are still on top of the East. The Raptors are still 4.5 games ahead of the second-running Boston Celtics (48-23), and 10.5 games clear of the Cavaliers.
Meanwhile, the 76ers are now fourth in the Eastern Conference standings after a blowout win on Wednesday night. Memphis outscored the 76ers by 16 points in the fourth quarter, but it was still not enough, as Philadelphia ran away with a 119-105 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
Dario Saric, Robert Covington, JJ Redick, and Marco Belinelli scored 15 points apiece. Joel Embiid tallied 14 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists, while Ben Simmons racked up 13 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, and two steals for the 76ers.
The 76ers improved to 40-30, and are now ahead of the Indiana Pacers (41-31) and Washington Wizards (40-31). The Miami Heat now have a 39-33 record after scoring a 119-98 victory over the New York Knicks. The Milwaukee Bucks, who took a 127-120 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, are still eighth in the East with a 37-34 record. The updated NBA standings are available on the league's official website.