RECAP: Cleveland Cavaliers beat Boston Celtics to win third straight Eastern Conference Championship

10:54 p.m.-CAVALIERS ARE NBA FINALS-BOUND ONCE AGAIN

The Cleveland Cavaliers are bound for the NBA Finals for the third straight season.

By winning the Eastern Conference Championship with a 135-102 Game 5 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden Thursday night, the Cavaliers earned the right to face the Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors for the NBA title for third straight season.

The rubber match between the Cavaliers and Warriors marks the first time in NBA history that the same two teams will play each other in The Finals in three consecutive seasons.

En route to passing Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan for the most points in NBA Playoffs history, Cavaliers small forward LeBron James scored a game-high 35 on 13-of-18 shooting, including a four-for-seven showing from three-point range.

James added eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one blocked shot over 35 minutes of action. For the second time in three games at Boston in the East Finals, James and his fellow starters did not play in the fourth quarter because of the Cavaliers’ lead on the scoreboard.

By making nine of his 15 looks at the basket, including four triples, point guard Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and assisted on seven other Cavaliers hoops, while power forward Kevin Love finished off a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Love added three assists, four steals and a blocked shot in the win.

Reserve point guard Deron Williams added 14 points off the bench.

10:23 p.m.-CAVALIERS CRUISING PAST CELTICS

There was no let-up from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and they used three-point shooting and aggressiveness from small forward LeBron James to build a 109-74 lead over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.

Point guard Kyrie Irving came out firing in the second half, and scored the Cavaliers’ first 11 points.

Irving got the scoring initiated when he buried a 25-foot step-back three-pointer from the wing, and less than a minute later, he caught a pass from James and knocked down a 15-footer from the right side of the free-throw line.

On the next trip down the floor, Irving pulled up for and buried his second triple of the quarter, and that gave the Cavaliers an 83-63 lead over the Celtics with 10:15 to play in the period. Irving kept the good times rolling when he ended a scoring drought with a 23-foot step-back three-pointer from the left corner.

After Irving’s quick start, James converted a driving layup and then, knocked down a jumper, which pushed Cleveland’s lead out to 25 points, 90-65, and forced a Celtics timeout.

Over their next four baskets, the Cavaliers alternated twos and threes, as James threw down a thunderous right-handed dunk and shooting guard J.R. Smith followed up with an off-balance three-pointer from the right wing.

Then, after an Irving jumper, power forward Kevin Love used his dribble to set up a 25-foot step-back three-pointer from the right wing and gave the Cavaliers a 30-point advantage, 100-70, with 3:27 to play in the quarter.

The Cavaliers’ next three-pointer was a record setter, as James pulled up for and buried a left-wing triple, which gave him the most points in NBA Playoffs history.

For good measure, James added a right-wing three-pointer for Cleveland’s next basket, and then, pulled up from well beyond the arc and converted his third straight triple, en route to tallying the Cavaliers’ final nine points of the third quarter.

10:18 p.m.-CLEVELAND CAVALIERS’ LEBRON JAMES PASSES MICHAEL JORDAN FOR MOST POINTS IN NBA PLAYOFFS HISTORY

Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James has scored more points in the NBA Playoffs than any player in history.

With his 29-point showing over the first two-plus quarters of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden in Boston Thursday night, James moved past Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan for first on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list.

Jordan scored 5,987 points in just 179 playoff games with the Bulls.

Earlier this postseason, James passed former Milwaukee Bucks/Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list in a 125-103 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena.

In addition to James’ scoring prowess in the postseason, he ranks in the top 10 in three-pointers made, rebounds and steals in NBA Playoffs history.

James is the Cavaliers' franchise single-season leader in points scored (2,478 in 2005-2006), minutes played (3,388 in 2004-2005), field goals attempted (1,823) and made (875 in 2005-2006), free throws attempted (814) and made (601 in 2005-2006), and scoring average (31.4 points per game in 2005-2006).

In 767 regular-season games with the Cavaliers, James reset franchise records for the most points scored (20,868), scoring average (27.2 points per game), field goals made (7,512) and attempted (15,442), free throws made (4,742) and attempted (6,467), three-pointers attempted (3,307) and made (1,102), assists (5,481), defensive rebounds (4,545), steals (1,260), minutes played (30,104) and minutes per game (39.2).

9:42 p.m.-CAVALIERS LEAD CELTICS BY 18 AT THE HALF

The Cleveland Cavaliers set franchise records for the most points scored in a quarter and half, and as such, built a 75-57 lead over the Boston Celtics after the first two quarters of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden.

Cavaliers small forward LeBron James led the way with 20 points on seven-of-eight shooting. Additionally, James pulled down seven rebounds, handed out seven assists, stole three passes and blocked a shot over 23 minutes of play.

Along with James, the Cavaliers got double-digit performances from power forward Kevin Love (12 points), point guard Kyrie Irving (11) and reserve guard Deron Williams (14) over the first half of play.

The Cavaliers started the second quarter on a 9-4 run and after three free throws, one from shooting guard Kyle Korver on a technical foul against Gerald Green and two more from James on a personal foul, also against Green, they held a 52-31 lead over the Celtics with 9:48 to play before halftime.

The Cavaliers put the lead back up to 21 points, 57-36, when Williams caught a pass from James and knocked down a three-pointer from 26 feet away on the right wing at the 7:22 mark of the quarter.

After a pair of free throws from Love pushed the lead to 23 points, the Celtics trimmed it down to 18 with a 5-0 run, but the Cavaliers answered when guard Iman Shumpert made a two-point shot and Williams buried his second triple of the quarter.

Following a nearly two-minute scoring drought, James got a driving layup to fall, and Williams continued to be a force when he drew a foul from Green while making a layup. Williams converted the three-point play for his 12th point of the quarter and gave the Cavaliers a 69-49 edge.

9:05p.m.-CAVALIERS SET FRANCHISE RECORD IN FIRST QUARTER

Behind a record-setting points total, the Cleveland Cavaliers staked themselves out to a 43-27 lead over the Boston Celtics at the end of the first quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden in Boston.

Small forward LeBron James led the way with 11 points on a perfect five-for-five effort from the field. Power forward Kevin Love added 10 points and point guard Kyrie Irving chipped in nine. Off the bench, guard Kyle Korver scored six points on a pair of made three-pointers.

Built largely on the offensive prowess of Love, the Cavaliers started the game on a 14-5 run and forced a Celtics timeout with 8:07 to play in the first quarter.

Just over a minute into the game, Love got the Cavaliers rolling with a 25-foot three-pointer from the left wing. Then, on the next possession, Love answered a Marcus Smart three-pointer when he caught a pass from James and converted a six-foot jumper.

Love was far from finished, as then, he buried his second three-pointer of the first quarter from the right corner of the floor. Love was set up for the triple by a pass from James.

Love had his next two-point attempt blocked by Boston forward Jae Crowder, but that is when James went to work scoring the ball.

James corralled the loose ball and got the put-back to fall. Then, on the next trip down the floor, James fought off contact from Crowder and made the layup. Although James missed the ensuing free throw, he remained aggressive on the offensive end of the floor.

Up by 11 points after a layup from center Tristan Thompson as well as baskets from Irving and fellow guard J.R. Smith, James again fought through a foul and got a layup to go. Then, after stealing a pass from Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko, James got space in the lane after a post-up and threw down a right-handed dunk that put the Cavaliers up, 28-12, and forced another Boston timeout.

The Cavaliers later pushed the lead to 21 points when Korver buried back-to-back three-pointers on passes from James and Irving converted a three-point play.

Irving gave the Cavaliers the franchise record for the most points scored in a quarter of a playoff game when he buried a deep three-pointer from the right wing with one minute to play in the first period.

7:00 p.m.-GAME 5 INFORMATION

CLEVELAND -- 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.

And despite Cleveland’s closing out eight of its last 10 playoff series with road wins, having battled the Celtics in several playoff series throughout his career, Cavaliers small forward LeBron James knows well that closing out a matchup in Boston will be anything but easy.

“The close-out game is always the hardest, and also, you're doing it, and Boston is going to make it even harder,” James said following the Cavaliers’ Game 4 win in Cleveland Tuesday night.

“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. We have to execute offensively. We have to have low turnovers, and we have to try to make them miss because some of those guys play a lot better at home. That's just how the game be played, but we'll play the game and we'll see what happens.”

Although playing in Boston has, at times, been difficult for James during his career, that was not the case in Games 1 and 2 of this year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

In Game 1, James led the Cavaliers to a comfortable 117-104 victory with 38 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals over 42 minutes. James finished the game plus-16, the second-best margin of the game.

It was James’ seventh straight playoff game with at least 30 points. The last time that was accomplished was by Shaquille O’Neal during the 2002-2003 season.

As he did in Game 1, James was the offensive leader in Game 2, as he scored a game-high 30 points with a 12-of-18 shooting performance. James buried four of his six looks from three-point range and went eight for 12 inside the arc.

Additionally, James pulled down four rebounds, handed out seven assists, stole four passes and blocked three shots over 33 minutes. James was a plus-45 in the record-setting 130-86 victory in Boston.

“At the end of the day, you play the game that's in front of you,” James said. “We didn't take care of business in Game 3, they played well. (In Game 4), they played well again, but we were able to play well, especially in the second half, and we defended. If we defend, then we're going to always give ourselves a good chance to win.”

James said playing Boston is unique in the fact that there is a different sense of pride in the players and fans.

Unlike newer teams or organizations with less success in the postseason, the Celtics have been the most prolific playoff team in NBA history. The Celtics have won a record 17 NBA championships, and as such, their home arena is full of banners recognizing successful teams and honoring the greatest players in franchise history.

“They play with a lot of pride,” James said. “Then, you add the green on their back and this is history. This is a franchise that you kind of no matter who’s out on the floor, you have to play for that franchise and play with pride.

“You know they're giving us everything that they have, and we're expecting it, and we want the challenge. It's the postseason. At the end of the day, you just want to win the game. It doesn't matter who you're going against or how you get the job done. You're just trying to figure it out, and I think we did that.”

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