Celtics eliminated from Eastern finals by Cavaliers 135-102

The Golden State Warriors are tuning out talk that their star-studded teams in recent years are to blame for uncompetitive playoff basketball.

But it all evaporated.

Green could be the difference maker this year to complement the Warriors' top trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

James, who is chasing his fourth National Basketball Association title this year, finished with 35 points in the game to set a new mark of 5.995 points in 212 play-off games, while six-time National Basketball Association champion Jordan set his record in 179 games.

Not a bad strategy, considering the huge role mindset will surely play in this year's NBA Finals battle.

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.

When the Cavaliers ended the Celtics' season on Thursday night with a 135-102 rout at TD Garden, it set them on an NBA Finals collision course with the Warriors for the third straight season.

The 2017 NBA Finals mark the eighth time LeBron James has been to the NBA Finals.

Both teams dominated throughout the playoffs - the Warriors made history by going an unprecedented 12-0 through three rounds in the Western Conference, while the Cavs lost just one game to the Celtics to cap their dominant run. "I remember earlier this year I got hurt and we beat Orlando by like 30 and [pundits] were like, 'Maybe he shouldn't come back'".

The All-Star guard gave updates on his health, as well as commenting on the state of his career. It made me go back to that. "We're trying to repeat, which is so hard to do". "I feel great about where the team is".

The Celtics, playing the final three-plus games without an injured Thomas, were taken out by the Cavaliers in five games.

Victory secures a seventh consecutive NBA Finals for James, winning two titles in four appearances with Miami Heat between 2011 and 2014, before returning to home-town team Cleveland - BBC Sport.

"Throughout the series, I didn't get the opportunity to have that moment (with Thomas)", James said Thursday night.

Livingston showed he was a difference maker with his performance in last year's NBA Finals against the Cavaliers. After torching the Celtics for 35, James now sits at 5,995 postseason career points.

"I'll take LeBron James, absolutely", Laimbeer said to Etan Thomas on The Rematch podcast (h/t Marlowe Alter of the Detroit Free Press, via USA Today). "So now, with the way the Finals went down previous year, if I were in his shoes, I would want the same thing". So that's the thing that I've gotta trust in them about is just being patient and not rushing anything. So, this team, I love this team and I don't think anybody in this organization would think this team is better without me. I had to get used to that.

The Warriors are listed as seven-point favorites for Game One at home, according to CBS Sports. King James or Air Jordan?

It's a big win for James, who wears the number 23 for Jordan.

  • Julie Sanders