LeBron James played a key role as Cleveland Cavaliers eased their way into the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
The talismanic small forward top-scored with 35 points as the reigning NBA Champions secured a 109-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre to complete a 4-0 series success.
The Cavs have now become the first defending champions to win their first eight playoff matches the following season, as they also secured a 4-0 whitewash over the Indiana Pacers in the first round.
James, who has now reached the Eastern Conference Finals in nine of the last 14 years, believes his side have worked hard to reach this stage of the competition once again.
“It’s rewarding when you can advance,” James said. “It’s not just given to you, you have to go out and earn it. “Once again I’m part of a team that’s been able to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
It’s going to be my ninth time in 14 years. I’ll take those numbers.”
Cleveland will now face either the Boston Celtics or the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals, with those two sides currently locked together at 2-2 in their semi-final series.
The Cavs also remain on course to meet Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the third successive season and they are priced at 3.60 to successfully defend their title.