Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - 6/1/17 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

They've been super-impressive. It's kind of in our minds that that's who we were going to see.

As they celebrated defending their Eastern Conference title Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers weren't ready to focus on defending their National Basketball Association championship. In the team's one day off between the first and second round, Thomas flew from Chicago to Washington for Chyna's funeral, gave a heartfelt eulogy and then made the long trek to Boston for Game 1 against the Wizards. Not for a minute.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving paired up for 59 points as the Cavaliers flattened Isaiah Thomas-less Boston 135-102 during Game 5 of the East finals on Thursday night at TD Garden.

Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas said surgery is not now the top option for his injured right hip.

Love scored Cleveland's first eight points and finished the opening frame with 10 points and five rebounds.

The Warriors and Cavaliers' untested paths to the Finals match the two up for the third straight years.

James has three National Basketball Association titles while Jordan has six.

So it's Cavaliers-Warriors, exactly as expected.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said that Brad Stevens' Celtics were harder to game plan for than the Warriors due to their unpredictability, and this wasn't a totally insane statement.

Outside of the "Big Three", the rest of the team looks ready for primetime. And hey - at least the National Hockey League of that era had six teams. It's one more team that you probably would've thought would've been a contender.

The last time James failed to make the NBA Finals was in May 2010 after a Kevin Garnett-led Celtics beat the Cavaliers, four games to two. Whether it be game winners in the regular season, or 41 points in the NBA Finals, Kyrie has what many would call the "clutch gene".

LeBron James was very helpful handing out T-shirts. It's a conversation that's slowly becoming more compelling. After torching the Celtics for 35, James now sits at 5,995 postseason career points.

In the postgame trophy presentation backstage, James spent most of it lingering in the background as his teammates celebrated.

James, for his part, sounded as though he was simply blown away to be mentioned in the same sentence as His Airness. But superficialities aside, James has never been a Jordan clone, never had Jordan's assassin-like single-mindedness as a scoring machine. "But for me, I'm just trying to put my mark on the game and leave a legacy behind so I can inspire the next group of kids that want to play the game the right way". "Scoring the ball is so heralded in our sport". The 9.8 points he averaged in the fourth quarter earned him a nightly spot in highlights everywhere, a cool Game of Thrones-themed nickname and a seat at the table as a potential MVP candidate for a good stretch of the season.

"Throughout the series, I didn't get the opportunity to have that moment (with Thomas)", James said Thursday night.

James, with three titles, is still chasing Jordan's six. He's signed for one more season at $6.2 million, an absolute steal for one of the NBA's best scorers, and has said he'll seek a max contract when he becomes a free agent (or as he termed it, a "Brinks Truck").

Act III in this trilogy is overloaded with story lines, with the biggest being whether James and Co. have enough firepower to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors, who added superstar Kevin Durant to a team that won 73 games a year ago before its Finals flameout. And there are those who agree with him.

Apparently, Curry and the Warriors view preventing this as a key to winning the series. There have been other near-trilogies between franchises over the years, too. In Las Vegas on Friday, $100 plunked down on the Warriors to win the title promised to pay about $39. "I just have to keep going and figure out what I've got do to come back at the highest level possible".

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