Cavs beat Celtics to earn NBA Finals rematch with Warriors
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night to set up a NBA Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors.
While the Warriors have posted a perfect 12-0 record in the playoffs this season, the Cavs have nearly matched them. LeBron James and company were unbeaten through 10 games before losing to the Celtics on a last-second 3-pointer in Sunday’s Game 3.
However, after a 112-99 comeback win in Game 4 and Thursday night’s victory over the injury-riddled Celtics, the Cavs now stand at 12-1 this postseason.
The win means James is going to his seventh straight finals and will rematch with the team his Cavs beat to win the NBA championship last year. It’s also the third straight year the two teams have clashed in the finals, with Golden State winning the title in 2015.
By going unbeaten in three series to reach the NBA Finals, the Warriors broke the previous record for best start in NBA postseason history, which the Los Angeles Lakers set twice with 11-0 runs in 1989 and 2001.
The NBA Finals get underway with Golden State, which finished with a league-best 67-15 record in the regular season, hosting Games 1 and 2 on June 1 and 4. The series then shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4 on June 7 and 9. If needed, the series would then alternate between Golden State and Cleveland for the final three games of the best-of-seven series on June 12, 15 and 18.
James scored 35 points and added eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and Kyrie Irving posted 24 points.
James, who shot 13 of 18 from the floor and 4 of 7 from 3-point range, hit a 3-pointer with 2:41 left in the third quarter to pass Michael Jordan and become the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer.
For the third time in as many TD Garden games in the series, the Cavaliers never trailed. Cleveland won the three road games in the series by a combined 90 points, the last two by a total of 77.
Kevin Love had 15 points and 11 rebounds and was a plus-43, and Deron Williams added 14 points in 17 minutes off the bench in the win that made Cleveland 12-1 in the postseason.
Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 23 points, and Gerald Green scored 14.
The Celtics made some noise near the end of the first half, but Irving scored Cleveland’s first 11 points in the first 3:18 of the second half before two baskets by James ballooned the lead to 25 with 6:39 left in the third quarter. It soon grew to 32 and then to 35 by the end of the quarter. James scored 15 and Irving 13 in the quarter, with James hitting three bombs in the final 2:41. Irving, who shook off a Game 4 twisted ankle, was 9 of 15 from the floor and 4 of 8 from 3-point range. The 109 points through three quarters marked the most the Celtics have allowed in the shot-clock era.
The Cleveland regulars were 16 of 33 from behind the arc through three quarters — after the Cavs went 19 of 39 on treys in a 44-point win in Game 2. They finished 19 of 41 Thursday.