LeBron James punishes Celtics guard Terry Rozier

Screen Shot

There would be no magical comeback on this night.

With LeBron James, this matchup has that.

LeBron James finished with 35 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in the Cavaliers' rout of the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

It's the matchup penciled in nearly from the moment the Cavs became the first team in National Basketball Association history to recover from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals and won their first championship on June 19, 2016 in Oakland.

This is the first time the same two teams have met to decide a title in three consecutive seasons. "It's too stressful, and I'm not stressed right now".

Thomas, who's entering the previous year of his contract and will make $6.3 million, is coming off the kind of season that could get him a hefty extension and says "that time will come".

Before the game, James said: "It's just a personal goal of mine. And so, as I told our guys, we made a lot of great strides, but this pain is part of the path to what we ultimately want to be". Conversely, they forced nine Celtics turnovers and converted them into 13 points.

Let the hype, and the waiting, begin: Game 1 isn't until June 1. "It's a tribute to what I've been able to do with this game". (Terry) Rozier is tough, Avery is tough, (Marcus) Smart's tough. It would be the only time Boston would be tied the rest of the night. If Cleveland wins within six feet of the basket, then the Cavaliers have a strong chance to steal a taco for America and a game in Oakland.

The Warriors, the team with the best record over three years in National Basketball Association history, will face increased criticism if they fail to come away with more than one championship during that span.

"How can I get the youth to feel like passing the ball is OK, making the extra pass is OK", James wondered.

When it came to these Eastern Conference finals, getting past the Cavaliers would have required good fortune on the grandest scale. Not the way we wanted to finish, but we came a long ways from the beginning of the year, came together. The Warriors have an average margin of victory in the postseason of 16.1 points, and have won by fewer than 10 points only once.

"The great thing about this is the experience. If not, then we'll wait until next summer and then we'll see where we go".

The Celtics made a mini-run to cut the lead to 37-22. And in Game 7, with LeBron James scoring a triple double plus a massive block and the dagger three-point shot from Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers won the game and the title, ending a sports championship drought the city of Cleveland had been living under since 1964.

The Cavs led 43-27 after one period - setting the franchise record for points in any quarter of a playoff game.

And now, with Durant and Brown infused, these two teams meet for the third straight time on the sport's biggest stage - a flawless script navigating them to this point in history. Irving hit his third triple of the opening four minutes of the half to extend the Cavaliers to an 86-63 lead. A similar incident occurred moments later when Tristan Thompson attempted to help up Amir Johnson while the Cavaliers were running in transition, and was pushed away once again.

One sequence said it all in the third quarter. "You've got one guy with 12 years, first Finals appearance, and another guy 14". One possession later, J.R. Smith canned a three from the right wing and it was 95-65. There hasn't been a Game 7 overtime since in the Final. Though admitting he doesn't fully understand the medical lingo, he said, "I have an extra bone or something". "You adapt to the style and that's the same thing that happened to me when I went to Miami".


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