James Passes Jordan, Cavs Back In Finals With 135-102 Win

There would be only complete domination from start to finish by the defending National Basketball Association champions and an end to the Celtics upstart playoff run.

For four straight quarters in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavaliers were plagued by turnovers, and that led to a second-half collapse against the Celtics in Game 3 and a sluggish start to Game 4. The two rivals have split the previous two encounters.

"We had really good athletes, quick guys that make things tough on people, guarding him, and he was able to raise up and make a lot of tough shots", said Stevens.

"That would have been a stretch I think we needed to push a little harder and kinda extend our lead a little bit", Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk said. As much as you want to, it's not over. When the fans at the end of the game were - man, it's just fantastic.

Boston will need to add size to maximize the roster around Thomas - lineups with him, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart were shredded this season, suggesting tiny three-guard combinations won't hold up. It would be the only time Boston would be tied the rest of the night.

If nothing else, Lue said their recent taste of adversity should help them remain humble heading into Game 5.

"It made me look back to see how fast everything can be taken away from me", Thomas said. It was 28-12 and the rout was in full throttle. Meanwhile, the Celtics' leading scorer after the injured Thomas, Avery Bradley, is averaging just 16.4 points this postseason.

"We're definitely disappointed. I feel like if we weren't, there would be a problem", he said. "That would have been great going into halftime, but we still went in with a lead".

A performance like this was necessary for the Cavs in this game, as the Celtics thoroughly outplayed the Cavs in the first half, and when LeBron picked up his fourth foul midway through the second quarter, the Cavs' prospects of a potential comeback were getting slimmer and slimmer. The injuries, and not only that, but us not being able to finish games the way we wanted to.

There has been a trilogy of championship showdowns across the Tasman, where in the early 1960s St George recorded a hat-trick over Western Suburbs in a competition that preceded the NRL, but that again featured a restricted field of 10 teams.

"The great thing about this is the experience".

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Here's what we learned from the Eastern Conference Finals clinching win.

Even while falling Tuesday night to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 112-99, the Celtics forced Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to be special.

The Celtics made a mini-run to cut the lead to 37-22. But James hit a 19-foot fallaway as the shot clock was expiring and Irving drained a three for a 43-23 Cleveland advantage. In the process, Cleveland set an National Basketball Association record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity.

That's true, but Irving kept going in the third quarter, during which he twisted his ankle, dealt with a bevy of defenders, and still scored 21 points on 9-for-10 shooting.

"When you do that, you allow our other front-court player, who's been a monster rebounder his whole career, to come up and do the thing that he did, and we needed that". "To not be able to go back out there in that second half and continue that series was painful".

James had come into the contest needing 28 points to pass Jordan - victor of six titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s - for first on the post-season scoring list.

In addition, Jae Crowder suffered a strained left thigh in the third quarter of Game 4 as well, but returned to play the entire fourth quarter. James drove to the basket uncontested with 6:38 left in the third to put the Cavaliers up, 90-65, sending fans to the exits. One possession later, J.R. Smith canned a three from the right wing and it was 95-65.

The second period saw the Celtics keep up the pace, while the Cavaliers tried to claw back into the game.

As the game ended, the crowd gave the Celtics a standing ovation amidst "Let's Go Celtics" chants.

That's why, when asked whether he is thinking about a possible third straight title meeting with the Warriors, Lue, whose team is up 3-1 on Boston, said, "You can't. As of tonight, I'll get started".

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