Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics Game 5: What We Learned
- Author: Julie Sanders May 28, 2017,
May 28, 2017, 9:36
For their superstar, LeBron James, it's his seventh straight Finals.
Boston Celtics, from left, Al Horford, Avery Bradley, Jonas Jerebko and Kelly Olynyk watch from the bench during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, on Thursday, May 25, 2017, in Boston.
About an hour after the final buzzer sounded, James took a seat at the interview podium, a black cap pulled low on his brow. "It's too stressful and I'm not stressed right now".
James called the Warriors, "the best team in our league the last three years". That's all I can give you right now, because I'm happy, and I don't want to be stressed.
With the win, the Cavaliers closed the Eastern Conference portion of their bracket with a 12-1 mark, going undefeated in seven tries on the road. There was nearly too much historical context to dissect, and so James did what his instincts told him to do.
Cleveland forward LeBron James moved past Hall of Famer Michael Jordan as the leading scorer in NBA playoff history on his way to helping the Cavaliers ease into a third successive NBA Finals series on Thursday. Jordan was in his rearview mirror and still James deflected the attention like a kick-out to an open shooter in the corner. That was my mindset when I started playing the game. In doing so, they looked very much like the power most expected they would be from the moment Kevin Durant agreed to come on board. So that's the thing that I've gotta trust in them about is just being patient and not rushing anything.
James, who earlier on Thursday suggested comparisons were only for "barbershops", tried to sidestep the Jordan topic.
When pressed, however, he acknowledged Jordan's massive influence and the significance of the milestone. "I think that goes with coaching staff, players, and everybody just has to get better to get back to this situation".
Some of the greatest players to ever play the game only made six or seven Finals, and LeBron is already on trip eight to the final round of the Playoffs.
"It has nothing to do with passing him in rings, passing him in points, passing him in MVPs. It doesn't matter to me". He led the way with 35 points on 13 of 18 shooting including going 4 of 7 from deep.
After the game, James told reporters that he was honored to pass Jordan, who was his childhood idol. Twitter congratulation posts poured in - including one from Magic Johnson.
James was asked, given how far the Celtics made it this season and that they also own the No. 1 pick, if he thinks it's likely he'll see them again next season deep in the playoffs. He's now third with 1,439.
"He was born to play one-on-one", James said of Irving. (President of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) was right there, I couldn't get past him. "Say whoever wins this championship, say we meet again next year - it still won't be appreciated until you realize what you have".
"It made me look back to see how fast everything can be taken away from me", he said of a postseason experience that began with the death of his younger sister, Chyna, in an April 15 auto accident.
With the unblemished Warriors waiting, James opted to douse them in accolades rather than cast any barbs. "Taking it day by day, and whatever happens within the next 4-6 weeks, then we go from there and attack that as is".