The Cleveland Cavaliers, fueled by another milestone night for LeBron James, powered into a third straight NBA Finals meeting with the Golden State Warriors with a dominant 135-102 win over the Celtics in Boston on Thursday.
Despite going through the East playoffs at 12-1 and appearing destined for a rematch against the Golden State Warriors for months, the Cavs pushed off thoughts of what awaits them in Oakland next week. Plus the Warriors are well familiar with Irving's offensive repertoire, especially since he effectively ended their championship aspirations in Game 7 of the last year's NBA Finals with a dagger three-pointer in the closing moments of the fourth quarter. He is averaging 32.5 points and shooting 56.6 percent in the postseason this year and with the exception of the Cavs' only loss, Game 3 against the Celtics, James is controlling his opponents like a puppeteer controls a puppet.
LEBRON JAMES: Now, when you're growing up and you're seeing Michael Jordan, you - it's nearly like a god. After torching the Celtics for 35, James now sits at 5,995 postseason career points. "We match up well with them and I think they'd say the same about us". He said the team knew he would eventually be unable to play, but Celtics brass still had to force him to shut down during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They won the three road games in the series by a combined 90 points, the last two by a total of 77.
After the game, James told reporters that he was honored to pass Jordan, who was his childhood idol. Twitter congratulation posts poured in - including one from Magic Johnson.
"I mentioned the inspired basketball we play and they definitely played inspired basketball, not only here but in our arena". "We never really had a second guy who was a perennial year-to-year second guy besides LeBron".
"It made me look back to see how fast everything can be taken away from me", Thomas said. "If he adds another 1,000 points, who is going to be able to come in and go to 10 NBA Finals in this modern age, in this modern day, just to have an opportunity to do that?"
Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates.
Game 2: Cleveland at Golden State When: Sunday, June 4 - 8 p.m.
Following the Cavs victory and elimination of Boston on Thursday night, Irving heaped praise on the Celtics and their injured leader Isaiah Thomas. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series. He missed a lot of time due to injury this season, but when he finally returned to the court, the Warriors became nearly unbeatable.