James leads Cavaliers back to NBA Finals

Solenn Plantier
Mai 31, 2017

But they also showed how badly they need him.

Irving was quiet in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but he was unstoppable over the last four games against a Celtics team that boasts one of the better crews of perimeter defenders in the National Basketball Association with Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier.

Cleveland's 4-1 series win gives it a 12-1 record this postseason and sets up a third consecutive matchup with Western Conference champion Golden State, the team it beat in the Finals last season to claim the franchise's first championship.

"We don't rest. I don't believe in it", Miami Heat president Pat Riley said in April.

"It's a good step forward as a season as a whole, but I leave with a little bit of a taste in your mouth - like not playing as well here, and man, you want to play well here because there is really no place like TD Garden in Boston".

LeBron James was the story of the opening half with a game-high 20 points, meaning he is just eight points shy of passing Michael Jordan to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer inthe postseason. In what felt like a throwback to the times when he was considered one of, if not the best, point guards in the NBA, Williams scored 14 points and helped ignite the 2nd unit in the second quarter. The King finished with 35 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists in putting an exclamation point on the Cavaliers' run through the Eastern Conference. They left the series with a -24.4 net rating, a fitting monstrosity to illustrate the massive gap between the two teams over the majority of the five games. "I was uncomfortable and in a lot of pain but I did fine, I could make it through", he said. There is no one who comes close. In 2015, Golden State (No. 1) was in the top six in field goal shooting defense allowed during the regular season. He watched Game 5 in street clothes. "The cloud hovering over our head, a lot of things that we wanted to accomplish personally and as a team, it all just went away once we won a championship".

"It's a hard thing because you can't tell players to play if they're injured", Taylor said. They're coming out and their hitting us, and they don't care who you are. As far as the Cavaliers All-Star who made the shot is concerned, once is not enough. It was 1 versus 2.

Golden State looks like a team on a mission to reclaim what the Cavaliers took from them a year ago.

A young team with its core signed, salary cap space and the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, the Celtics have a chance to add a maximum contract player as a free agent and another potential star in the draft.

Keeping Thomas for next season and competing for a championship, while letting younger guys develop at the same time, is the best strategy for the Celtics.

"I think it is making us better".

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