James passes Jordan, Cavs back in Finals with 135-102 win

James exchanged words with a fan late Sunday night after the Boston Celtics stormed back from a 21-point deficit in the third quarter and shocked the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

There's also the irony that Brown, the first coach who took James to an NBA Finals in 2007 - Cleveland was swept by San Antonio - will now coach against him, likely in the same leading role he's had for Golden State since head coach Steve Kerr was forced to take a break because of continued problems with his surgically repaired back.

James scored 35 points and added eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and Kyrie Irving posted 24 points and seven assists to power the Cavaliers to a 135-102 blowout of the Boston Celtics in Game 5 to clinch the Eastern Conference title. They were done by the end of the third quarter in Thursday's Game 5, but they still scored or assisted on 34 of the team's 38 baskets while in the game. They had won the lottery without tanking, and their young players had developed while winning 53 games. Game 1 is next Thursday, and the tension between two giants that have spent most of the past three years eyeing each other will be released. "Thirty teams suit up every year trying to get to this point, and only two teams do". The Thunder lost to Miami in five games, a series that made James a champion for the first time. With each thunderous performance - and this postseason has been full of them as the Cavs, 12-1 in these playoffs, coasted into a rematch with the Golden State Warriors - he draws ever closer to his idol.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook installed Golden State as a minus-260 favorite, with Cleveland at plus-220, meaning a $100 bet on the Warriors would win $38.46 and the same bet on the Cavaliers would win $220, according to ESPN.

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The Warriors are 12-0 in these playoffs, becoming the first National Basketball Association team to accomplish the feat after dispatching the Trail Blazers, Jazz and Spurs. In Game 2, he scored 53 points - one shy of John Havlicek's franchise record.

Yet, even while scoring has never been a fixation for him like it was for Jordan, he's the top scorer in playoff history and in 118 shots, when he finally catches up to Jordan's field goal attempts, he'll begin padding that record to what could be an untouchable level.

"It doesn't matter to me", James said. "We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we got some things we can correct and come back ready to go on Tuesday (in Game 4)". "This is a great moment, and this is not promised", James said.

"We're definitely disappointed. I felt like if we weren't, it would be a problem", Bradley said. "I feel like you have to have some type of adversity in order to be successful".

  • Tabitha Byrd