Cavs destroy Celtics, set up Finals rematch
Goliath vs. Goliath. There is no David in this fight. That's about the best way to describe the upcoming NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
It's the third straight time the teams will face each other for the league's biggest prize. That's a first. The Cavs won last season, the Warriors the year before that.
But there will be time enough to hype up the championship -- as the Finals don't begin until Thursday, June 1.
For now, the focus is on LeBron James and the Cavaliers, who blasted the host Boston Celtics 135-102 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday.
It ended a series for the Celtics in which they never held a lead, not even for one second, on the home court they worked so hard to secure.
But the Cavs have James (35 points), Kyrie Irving (24) and Kevin Love (15 with 11 rebounds) -- and that is about all they needed to emerge from the East with barely a scratch.
They sure left Boston unscathed, winning Game 2 by 44 points and this one by 33. Both were basically over by halftime.
"I enjoy every win. This is a big step for us," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. "I'm very happy, and I'm gonna enjoy it until we play Golden State. That being said, I'm gonna start preparing (for the Finals) tonight."
Meanwhile, the Celtics will build off the hope that star point guard Isaiah Thomas will indeed return to form (he was injured in Game 2) and they will have gained confidence from this experience.
Of course, on top of landing the No. 1 seed in the East, the Celtics are armed with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
"This is great learning for all of us on how far we have to go," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Reserve guard Deron Williams added 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting in his best playoff game as a member of the Cavs.
Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 23 points.
James passed Michael Jordan as the all-time leading scorer in NBA playoff history, and the Cavs set a franchise record for points in a playoff game.
"I'm not even in the right mind to discuss Golden State," James said. "It's too stressful. ... I'll get to that point when we start to preapre for them."