KYRIE Irving and LeBron James combined for 76 points as the ClevelandCavaliers battled to a 112-99 victory over the BostonCeltics, yesterday, to move within one game of a place in the NBA Finals.
Even Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who will enter the Finals with 2,872 career playoff points as a 28-year-old, is nearly exactly 1,000 points behind LeBron's pace at that same age (3,871).
The Celtics made some noise near the end of the first half, but Irving scored Cleveland's first 11 points in the first 3:18 of the second half before two baskets by James ballooned the lead to 25 with 6:39 left in the third quarter.
Adding injury to insult, the Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas re-aggravated a lingering hip injury in the third quarter of the Game 2 massacre that would keep him out for the remainder of the postseason.
Still stinging after the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in last year's Finals against Cleveland, the vociferous Green, who was suspended from Game 5, said if given the chance again, he plans to "destroy and annihilate" the Cavs.
"I said to to myself, 'we can't tie this series, we just can't do that '". "It should be the same for us", James said. Horford's 16-point performance in Game 5 was a quiet one, but if he can to the paint and use his stepback fadeaway shot, he will be hard to stop. Irving, who shook off a Game 4 twisted ankle, was 9 of 15 from the floor and 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Cleveland is expecting another unflinching effort in Game 5 from a Celtics team that isn't backing down despite facing a 3-1 deficit in the series. Betcha the Cavs will win one of the first two in Oakland and the Warriors take at least one in Cleveland. "I started to focus on myself, on other players and other people around my neighborhood because I never thought that you could get to a point where Mike was". We knew were this was going.
They have earned a rubber match with the Warriors, setting up one of the most anticipated NBA Finals in recent memory. James briefly celebrated breaking the record by raising his right index finger to signal No. 1 as he headed down the court while the game continued.
Golden State Warriors will be waiting to compete against one of these two teams in the NBA Finals. Cleveland won by one on Christmas Day, Golden State prevailed by 35 on January 16. He's only 32 years old and shown no sign of slowing down, averaging 32.3 points per game during these playoffs entering Thursday's Game 5. "What else do you want me to say?"Game Four of the Eastern Conference finals is tomorrow. We should be a lot better in Game 5". Please don't tell me that there's anyone in the National Basketball Association that is more "valuable" to his team.
"We're not going to use that as motivation", Lue said.
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James also gave his thoughts on the finals and said, " Once we get to the preparation for that juggernaut, we will be locked in ". Boston had another nice balanced attack on offense, with Avery Bradley putting up 19 points to lead the team.