Cavs' Lue believes Celtics' offense harder to prepare for than Warriors

Led by 59 points from the duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated play from beginning to end and clinched the Eastern Conference Finals with a resounding win over the Boston Celtics in Game 5 at TD Garden on Thursday night.

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.

The Big Three of LeBron James (35 points, eight rebounds and eight assists), Kyrie Irving (24 points and seven assists) and Kevin Love (15 points, 11 rebounds and four steals) ensured there wouldn't be a Game 6 against Boston, while the team as a whole drilled 19 three-pointers in an offensive explosion.

"When you're growing up and you see Michael Jordan it's nearly like a god". "He finished the second half of the season with some periodic discomfort, but I wasn't too anxious until Game 6 of the Wizards series, where I thought he might not play in Game 7".

On July 4, with a 351-word post on The Players' Tribune, Durant announced he was joining the Warriors. We knew that Friday was a 46-point disaster. Their Game 3 loss was their only one in the postseason. I was anxious going into the Cleveland series and he was nowhere near himself in Game 1 or 2. The 43 points Cleveland scored in the first quarter set a team postseason record for a quarter. We've got to come out and play.

Debating whether James has or will pass Jordan as the best player of all time is a debate that will rage on regardless of this event. That was my mindset when I started playing the game.

After signing Al Horford in the offseason - the biggest free agent acquisition in the history of the NBA's most-decorated franchise - the Celtics rode him and Thomas to the No. 1 seed in the East.

On Wednesday, while stating that the team is still focused on Boston, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue had something very interesting to say: The Celtics are harder to prepare for than the Warriors, at least offensively. Still, they beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland the next game before falling easily in Games 4 and 5.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love are collectively playing as well as ever.

Irving kept the game close until half-time with 12 points. Still, that's a bit of a simplification: James does average 28.2 points per game in the postseason, fifth most in National Basketball Association history. Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015.

Any inkling that the Celtics would salvage the game never materialized after the break as the Cavaliers continually pushed the lead up throughout the third quarter. Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing.

"The whole underdog thing is amusing to me, because yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title", Cavs forward Kevin Love said following Saturday's practice.

"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. "We've had some tough battles and games that tested us and those have helped us prepare".

The two-time All-Star was sidelined in Game 2 after aggravating a hip injury.

  • Julie Sanders