LeBron: Jordan chase is about motivation, not greatness

THE Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will meet in the NBA Finals for the third straight season.

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combined for 76 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers battled to a 112-99 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday to move within one game of a place in the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors have taken care of business in the Western Conference by sweeping the San Antonio Spurs and becoming the first team in National Basketball Association history to get to the National Basketball Association finals with a 12-0 playoff record.

The Eastern Conference finals met their formal end on Thursday night, but in truth they had been in LeBron James' back pocket for weeks.

"This team is a insane team".

"If we defend, then we're always going to give ourselves a good chance to win", LeBron James said. "Now we can start focusing on Golden State to get ready". "I'm pretty sure I'll be sore when I get home". Today, the same Thomas is a franchise player for the Celtics and was an MVP candidate for much of the 2016-17 regular season. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series. He bombarded the Celtics while overtaking Michael Jordan as the top postseason scorer of all time, pushed the game out of reach by the third quarter, and retired early to the bench to blow his nose in peace. Get $60 worth of FREE premium member picks. The C's couldn't capitalize with James out, and when the third quarter rolled around, Kyrie Irving was ready to step up in a huge way.

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver all helped spread out Boston's defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Celtics are 2-9 all-time in playoff series when trailing 3-1 and will go up against a Cavaliers team desperate to finish off this matchup.

The Celtics acquitted themselves well by winning Game 3 on the strength of one of Marcus Smart's patented eruptions, and the trend continued through the first half of Game 4 when Boston appeared on the verge of making things really interesting. Coach Brad Stevens has the Celtics constantly trying new schemes and lineups to try and fill the hole of Thomas. "But right now, we're not at that point".

"I've twisted my ankle so many times that plays like that, you have two choices, either you can sit there and kind of wallow in the sorrow of you twisting your ankle or capture the moment", Irving said.

Cavaliers: James has scored 30 or more points in 11 of Cleveland's 13 games this post-season. Cleveland improved to 35-5 against Eastern teams in the playoffs since 2015.

Already without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics may be without another key contributor when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden.

Isaiah Thomas was shut down for the season after aggravating a lingering hip injury in Game 2 of the series.

  • Angelo Rivera