The difference between the Warriors and Cavaliers this season is striking

When the Cavaliers ended the Celtics' season on Thursday night with a 135-102 rout at TD Garden, it set them on an NBA Finals collision course with the Warriors for the third straight season.

Kyrie Irving - who scored 42 points in Cleveland's game-four victory - added 24 points and Kevin Love contributed 15. After winning the Western Conference title, the Warriors welcome nine days of preparation time.

While James and the Cavaliers are headed to a third straight National Basketball Association finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors, the Celtics will start the quest to close a sizable gap.

"It doesn't matter to me", James said. I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike. Same for Michael Jordan and Karl Malone or Jerry West and Bill Russell.

"So I didn't ever believe I could be Mike".

Cavs small forward James hit a three-pointer from the left wing in the third quarter to pass Jordan's record of 5,987 play-off points, which had stood for 19 years. That jibed with comments James made in December, when he said of Jordan, "He was much more of a scorer", adding, "You recognize the dominance that someone had. but there's no similarities in our game, at all".

"They've been playing great, but you can't get too far ahead of yourself", Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said of the Warriors. "That was my mindset". Stephen Curry, the two-time reigning MVP, is leading them in scoring in the playoffs with 28.6 points per game. But he said both he and his teammates continue to be inspired by their leader.

Before the game, James said: "It's just a personal goal of mine".

Warriors open as favorite over Cavs in NBA Finals
Deron Williams , who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland . Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday , June 1, and the NBA Finals will span 18 days if it goes the full seven games.

"This team is a insane team. They just stayed resilient all year, got to the playoffs, and we really stepped our game up", he said.

Pippen went on to compare James to players like Magic Johnson and himself, as they were more of distributors than pure scorers like Bryant and Michael Jordan. "We match up well with them, and I think they'd say the same about us".

Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points.

As Cleveland faltered in the regular season, the Celtics had seized the top seed in the East. He lost a tooth in Game 1 against Washington on a collision in the first quarter but shook it off and scored 33 points in Boston's comeback win.

James still trails Jordan in one key area: titles. The Giants won the Series 5-3 in the final best-of-nine matchup as a banged-up Ruth got just one plate appearance during the final three games, all won by the Giants. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists.

Thomas said there is not a timetable until more tests can be run, but he has full confidence knowing Celtics coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will keep in mind the best path to his long-term health.

The Celtics, playing the final three-plus games without an injured Thomas, were taken out by the Cavaliers in five games. But it meant little, as Boston never led in any of their home games in the series.

This season, the NBA Playoffs have consisted of 74 games. Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing. The Cleveland Cavaliers are shooting 43.5 percent from beyond the arc and 77.4 percent from the free throw line. "Only because I feel we have some unfinished business from last season". They finished 19 of 41 Thursday.

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