Cavs edge Pistons to complete sweep

Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:03am EDT
 
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(The Sports Xchange) - Kyrie Irving is off to a great start in his effort to make up for lost time in the playoffs.

A year after missing five games in the NBA Finals and two in the Eastern Conference finals with a knee injury and leaving people wondering what might have been, the Cavaliers guard capped off a brilliant beginning to this year's playoffs Sunday, scoring 31 points to help Cleveland earn a 100-98 win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 4 of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

The Cavaliers completed a sweep of the best-of-seven series and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they await the winner of the series between the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics that is tied at two games apiece.

Irving clearly is hungry and healthy at the moment, as he averaged 27.5 points in the series and outscored teammate LeBron James, who averaged over 22 points a game in the series.

"This postseason is what we have been preparing for," Irving said. "It's been a pretty good postseason so far."

Just as in Games 1 and 3 in the series, Detroit hung with Cleveland for the entire game, but the Cavaliers had too much firepower and experience in the fourth to be denied.

After Detroit cut a nine-point Cleveland lead to 97-96 with 1:08 remaining on a 3-pointer by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Irving buried a 3-pointer from the wing with 42.6 seconds left to put the Cavaliers up by four.

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson shaved the Cleveland lead to 100-98 on a dunk with 32.8 seconds remaining, and then Detroit had a chance to tie or win after rebounding an Irving miss with under 10 seconds remaining.

Proceeding down the court without a timeout, Jackson couldn't convert a contested 3-point shot from the top of the key as time expired.   Continued...

 
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) passes the ball between Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes (12) and guard Reggie Jackson (1) during the first quarter in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Cavs win 100-98. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports