NBA Finals Set To Tip Off Next Thursday, June 1

While there have been 14 rematches in NBA Finals history, this year's meeting between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors will be the first trilogy in league history.

Up 18 points at halftime and by as many as 39, the Cavaliers coasted to a 135-102 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals at the Garden. The 33-point rout was the worst loss when facing elimination in Celtics history. It's also the third straight year the two teams have clashed in the finals, with Golden State winning the title in 2015.

"I'm proud of our group".

"We're definitely disappointed. I felt like if we weren't, it would be a problem", Bradley said. They're coming out and their hitting us, and they don't care who you are.

"We still obviously have to keep growing as a group, getting better", said Al Horford following the contest. Should Boston wait out LeBron's prime and build through the draft (own this year's No. 1 overall pick and also gets the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round pick per Real GM) or use their draft picks and cap space to build a new Big 3?

The Warriors have been James' rival (whether he wants to admit it or not) for the past three years.

"[The Cavaliers have] been here before", Marcus Smart said. "We feel like we should be here, and we feel like we should be a championship-contending team". You can't just sleep walk through a season and sleep walk through the playoffs and expect to be here. They capitalize, they did everything to the T, like they were supposed to.

Laimbeer would give Jordan his dues, calling him an assassin, but he would ultimately give the nod to LeBron.

In the previous two games, Cleveland's bench scored nine and seven points total, but finished out the series with 49 bench points, the bulk of which did not have to come in garbage time.

They lost the series four games to one, most of which were played without their most dynamic player, Isaiah Thomas (hip) who came into the postseason as the top scorer in the Eastern Conference. James showed no ill effects in the game, finishing with 35 points.

Ultimately, the Celtics delayed the inevitable with a victory, but head coach Brad Stevens deserves ample praise for keeping his group engaged in the series. Not only did he say the National Basketball Association has more talent than ever across the board, but he said it was disrespectful of their accomplishments from this season.

"I think that helped shape my game. And so, as I told our guys, we made a lot of great strides, but this pain is part of the path to what we ultimately want to be".

He said the Celtics are committed to putting him on the best path to long-term health. We know what he brings to this game as a whole, brings to this league, our organization. "It sparked a little bit of motivation for each and everybody in our locker room to get better".

The onslaught continued in the third quarter as Cleveland got off a 20-8 start to extend the lead to 30.

James was asked whether he could envision a rematch with the Celtics in next year's East finals.

"Despite everything I said (about the series), that's not to say that the Cavaliers are going to go down easy", Fitz said. "They have a great team right now".

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