For the Cleveland Cavaliers to close out the Boston Celtics and win the Eastern Conference Championship for the third straight season tonight, they will have to finish off the best-of-seven series on the road at TD Garden in Boston.
BOSTON (AP) - The NBA Finals has its first "three-match", courtesy of a King who passed His Airness. "To be honest, I didn't do one (bit of) prep for Golden State yet because I really believe that this (Boston) team is a good team".
"We have to go in with a bunker mentality that we had in Game 1 and Game 2, to go out and do what we do, but we have to defend", James said.
The Golden State Warriors would love to start the series off with a game one win to remove some of the pressure of being the heavy favorites.
Within the first 24, the Celtics already looked frustrated and taken back by the Cavs strong showing, looking lethargic early and not hustling on defense, as well as clear agitation on both players and coaches, with Gerald Green putting the Cavaliers into bonus only 2 minutes into the second quarter, and then giving away a technical, to go with it, blowing the early lead to 21. James scored 11 points with six assists in the period and Irving, showing no sign of the twisted left ankle he suffered in the third quarter of game four, scored nine as Cleveland shot 64 percent from the field in the first quarter.
Avery Bradley leads Boston with 23 points.
Cavaliers' forward LeBron James lead all scorers with 35 points on 13 for 18 shooting.
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As James' detractors - and Jordan truthers - are wont to do, there will be an attempt to discredit this feat.
"We're definitely disappointed. I feel like if we weren't, there'd be a problem", Bradley said. Or at least a player (or two) that decides winning a title is more important than money, offering a discount to a contender for a chance at winning an elusive National Basketball Association championship.
They've given themselves a chance to erase the sting of their 44-point loss in Game 2.
The Warriors are 12-0 in the playoffs this year. "I just have to keep going and figure out what I've got do to come back at the highest level possible".
Cleveland's 75 first half points were the most in an National Basketball Association playoff game half since 2003 and gave them an 18-point cushion.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens wants his team to find motivation in how the series played out after a fulfilling season. But with roster that has three of the league's best players in James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, not to mention a capable and experienced supporting cast, it was hard to make a case for any team other than Cleveland coming out of the East.
The Celtics were 9-9 during a playoff run that capped a successful season.