Published: Fri, May 26, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

LeBron James overtakes Michael Jordan for most playoff points in National Basketball Association history


The Cleveland Cavaliers, fueled by another milestone night for LeBron James, powered into a third straight NBA Finals meeting with the Golden State Warriors with a dominant 135-102 win over the Celtics in Boston on Thursday. He quickly flashed one finger as he backpedaled down the court. "That was my mindset". Their annoyance with one another is palpable, a dynamic only likely to be stoked by Warriors owner Joe Lacob calling for a rematch on account of "unfinished business", or by Cavs coach Tyronn Lue insisting that-against any conceivable logic-the Thomas-less Celtics are actually more hard to defend than the Warriors.

"He's been the driving force, this entire playoff run, and all of us have just helped us along the way", Irving said.

"This team is a insane team".

"We came a long way this year", Celtics forward Al Horford said following the season ending defeat.

"I'm not in the right mind to even talk about Golden State", James said. "We know that. But once we start to lock in on that beast of a matchup that we've got next round, then we'll be very focused and I'll let those guys know what to expect out of a Finals appearance". 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.

Avery Bradley led the way for the Celtics, missing star Isaiah Thomas through injury, with 23 points.

After allowing the Celtics to seize the early momentum in Game 4, the Cavs barely gave them the chance in Game 5. The previous franchise record for points in a playoff game is 130, which was set against Boston in Game 2 of this series.

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. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists. James had 20 points and Deron Williams added 14 at the intermission.

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James scored 15 and Irving 13 in the quarter, with James hitting three bombs in the final 2:41. Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015.

The Cavs owned a 75-57 halftime lead built on eight three-pointers and 57% shooting from the field. In fact, the Celtics never had the lead in any of the three games in Boston.

-Before tipoff, there was a moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing that occurred on Monday. The Celtics would go on to win the following game 111-108, before falling to the Cavs in Game 4 again.

After getting eliminated, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens now looks ahead to the National Basketball Association draft and said, "It's pretty cool to think that in three weeks you've got the No. 1 pick in the draft".

"I enjoy every win", Lue said.

And yet they had finished No. 1 in the East.

It was reminiscent of Games 1 and 2 in Boston, where the Cavs exposed the Celtics along the perimeter and clamped down on defense.

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