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Cavaliers defeat Celtics in Eastern Conference finals, head to 2017 NBA Finals

Posted: 11:19 PM, May 25, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-26 11:10:40Z

Cavs win! The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Boston Celtics to head back to the NBA Finals.

GAME 5: Cavs win!

LeBron James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night to claim their third straight Eastern Conference title and a return trip to the NBA Finals.

Final Score: 135-102

Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Kevin Love finished with 15 for the Cavs, who never trailed and led by as many as 39 points in one of their most dominating wins of the series. The Cavs set an NBA record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity.

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.

It will mark the seventh straight trip to the Finals for James.

Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points.

 

RECAP: Cavs v. Celtics Series

GAME 4: Cavs win

Final Score: 112-99

Kyrie Irving took over in the second half and finished with 42 points, LeBron James added 34 and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of an almost inevitable third date in the Finals with Golden State by rallying to beat the Boston Celtics 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The defending NBA champions can wrap up their third straight conference title — and a "three-match" against the Warriors — with a win in Game 5 on Thursday night in Boston.

GAME 3: Cavs lose

Final Score: 111-108

Cavs fall short against the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love had 28 for Cleveland. The Cavaliers dropped to 10-1 in the postseason with their first loss since Game 4 of last year's Finals.

LeBron James had one of the worst games of his postseason career, finishing with 11 points and six turnovers.

"I didn't have it," said James. "You let a team like that grab momentum you almost knew a shot like that was going in.

The Cavs hadn't lost since Game 4 of last year's Finals, and they came in tied with the 1988-89 Los Angeles "Showtime" Lakers for the longest winning streak in postseason history.

For Cleveland, the loss was a wake-up call on their march toward a possible third straight Finals and a seemingly inevitable rematch with Golden State. 

GAME 2: Cavs win

An NBA playoff-record, 41-point halftime lead. A franchise record for total points. A 13th consecutive playoff win, tying another league record.

And LeBron James says the Cleveland Cavaliers can still do better.

Final Score: 130-86

“I believe we’ve got another level, as well,” he said after Cleveland steamrolled the Boston Celtics with 130-86 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. “As well as we played tonight, we’ve got a couple of things we can do better. There’s no complacency for us now. But we like where we’re headed.”

Minutes after the NBA announced the three finalists for the MVP award — and James wasn’t among them — the Cavaliers star scored 30 points before resting in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which led by 14 points after one quarter, by 72-31 at the half and by 46 after three.

Even with all of the starters sitting out the fourth, the 130 points was the most ever scored by the Cavaliers in a playoff game.

Kyrie Irving had 23 points for the Cavaliers, who return home with a chance to finish off the Celtics in Cleveland. It would be the third straight sweep this postseason for the defending NBA champions, who also won the last three games of last year’s finals.

Game 3 is Sunday night.

“It’s one game. I don’t care if you win by 200 points,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We’re going back home, we’re not going to get comfortable. We understand that this is a good team. They’re not No. 1 in the East for no reason.”

GAME 1: Cavs win

Coming off a 10-day break, LeBron James and Cavaliers raced to an early lead were never threatened.

James embarrassed every defender Boston threw at him and Cleveland picked up where it left off following a long layoff, rolling to a 117-104 victory Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

James had 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Kevin Love added a playoff career-high 32 points and had 12 rebounds to help the Cavaliers improve to 9-0 in the first three rounds of the playoffs. They opened 10-0 last season en route to their first NBA title.

Final Score: 117-104

“It was our two bigs that set the tone — Kev and Double-T (Tristan Thompson), they were phenomenal,” James said. “I saw it in Kev this morning. I knew what type of game he was going to have. So he came through for us.”

But there’s no denying it has started with James, who has scored at least 35 points in five straight games.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said James’ efficiency continues to make things easier for everyone on both ends.

“He’s playing at a high level. And that’s the reason why we’re riding him so much,” Lue said. “When LeBron’s playing at that level other guys just have to be solid and we have a good chance to win.”

Game 2 is Friday night in Boston.

RELATED: Playoff schedule for Cavs v. Celtics