McConnell helps Sixers survive in Game 4
The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — T.J. McConnell turned a surprise start into the save of the season and Dario Saric scored 25 points to help the Philadelphia 76ers stave off elimination in a 103-92 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 on Monday night.
The Sixers still face daunting odds headed into Game 5 and trailing 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals: No NBA team has ever won a series down 3-0.
McConnell had a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in only his second start of the season.
Joel Embiid had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Simmons had 19 points and 13 boards.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 20 points while Marcus Morris added 17.
Cavs sweep Raptors
CLEVELAND — LeBron James sent Toronto into summer vacation for the third straight season as the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a series sweep of the Raptors with a 128-93 win in Game 4 on Monday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
James finished with 29 points, 11 assists and spent some of the final 7:38 dancing near the bench during Cleveland’s 10th straight playoff win over Toronto. Kevin Love added 21 points.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 and Kyle Lowry had 10 assists to lead the exasperated Raptors. Toronto’s frustration hit its peak late in the third when All-Star DeMar DeRozan was ejected for a flagrant foul.
Fizdale in Big Apple
NEW YORK — David Fizdale was hired as coach of the New York Knicks, saying he is hoping to “build the type of winning team the passionate fans of New York will be proud of.”
The Knicks announced the hiring Monday after agreeing to terms with the former Memphis coach last week. They plan to introduce Fizdale at a news conference today.
Fizdale went 50-51 with the Grizzlies, leading them to the postseason in his only full season before getting fired early last year after clashing with star center Marc Gasol. He becomes the 29th coach in franchise history, hoping to lead the Knicks out of what is now a five-year postseason drought.
He replaces Jeff Hornacek, who lasted two seasons in New York before getting fired hours after the season finale.
Fizdale, 43, also was an assistant for four seasons in Atlanta and one in Golden State.
Van Gundy out in Detroit
DETROIT — After four seasons of mostly mediocre results, the Detroit Pistons are moving on without Stan Van Gundy. He won’t return as president of basketball operations and he isn’t staying on as Detroit’s coach, either.
Under Van Gundy, the Pistons made the playoffs only once during his tenure, in 2016. The Pistons went 39-43 this season. They’ve made the postseason just once in the past nine seasons, and even a blockbuster trade for Blake Griffin wasn’t enough to salvage 2017-18.
The Pistons went 152-176 under Van Gundy, and his first-round draft picks — Stanley Johnson, Henry Ellenson and Luke Kennard — have been less than stellar.