Well, it is now official.
For a third straight time, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals.
The Cavs punched their ticket on Thursday night by demolishing the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, taking the series 4-1. It was a continuation of the trend they started over the first two games of this series in Boston, as they jumped out to a huge lead, then coasted the rest of the way, winning 135-102.
LeBron James lead the way, finishing with 35 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists as he also passed Michael Jordan as the NBA's all-time leading scorer in the postseason. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were solid as well, combining for 39 points, while Deron Williams was a big boost off the bench, scoring all 14 of his points in the first half.
As for the Celtics, they were lead by 23 from Avery Bradley, while Jae Crowder (11 points) was the only other starter to finish in double figures.
Game 1 of the Finals is set for June 1.
Here are a few takeaways from Game 5:
7 straight Finals for LeBron:
35 points on 13-of-18 shooting, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. Anyone else and we're talking about an epic performance in a closeout game to get to the Finals, but with LeBron these kind of performances have become commonplace. With the Eastern Conference finals-clinching win, the Cavs are heading to their third straight Finals, but for LeBron, this will be No. 7 in a row. And even with all those added miles on his legs, LeBron is playing better than ever.
A vintage D-Will performance:
If the Celtics wanted to beat this ultra-talented Cavaliers team, they were going to need someone unexpected to step up. That didn't happen, and not only did no one on the Celtics step up, but instead it was the Cavs who got a surprise performance, as Deron Williams came off the bench to fire in 14 points in the first half, giving Cleveland a big boost as they jumped out to a 75-57 lead.
Boston's bright future:
Yes, this was a tough way for it to end, as the Celtics got waxed at home by 33 points and were missing their best player, but simply getting to the Eastern Conference finals was a more than successful season in Boston. And with a talented young roster, the No. 1 pick in next month's draft, and plenty of cap space, the Celtics should have plenty of good times ahead.