NewsAlert: Cavaliers beat Celtics; advance to NBA Finals against Warriors

LeBron James was reportedly playing through an illness in Game 3, which explains his surprisingly low output of just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting in that loss.

This could be a historic night for James and the Cavaliers on two fronts.

Looking at the betting trends, the Cavaliers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven road games, 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games following a win of more than 10 points.

The Celtics did defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 without an injured Thomas, however, prompting "Toucher & Rich" to ask Ainge about the theory that the team might be better in the guard's absence. "It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs".

Kyrie Irving rolled his ankle late in the third quarter of Game 4 when he went up for a layup and stepped on Terry Rozier's foot. Irving stayed on the floor and finished the game, but with a day off between games there will be interest in how tender his ankle is at tipoff. "Now we can start focusing on Golden State to get ready".

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver helped spread out Boston's defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities. Cleveland has 18 points off the bench compared to Boston's 14. Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. Their desperation and defiant mental make-up will keep them in the game during the first half, but after a big Cleveland run in the third quarter, they will go quietly.

While the Celtics captured the top seed in the East, they never led in any of their home games in the series.

Even so, as Ainge hinted on the radio, trading Thomas would have meant diminishing, and maybe crushing, the chances of the Celtics' dream offseason: signing both Al Horford and Kevin Durant.

"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.

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has denied a claim star guard Isaiah Thomas was available for a lottery pick last summer.

  • Julie Sanders