LeBron James can officially start preparing to face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, but the Cleveland Cavaliers star was in no mood to do that on Thursday night. Why? The 135 - 102 final scoreline flattered the Celtics immensely, who now take their (admittedly very talented) core and await the arrival of the number one draft pick that they somehow spirited away from Brooklyn several years ago.
And now, with Durant and Brown infused, these two teams meet for the third straight time on the sport's biggest stage - a flawless script navigating them to this point in history.
Midway through this Cleveland series, it was revealed that Thomas had been playing through a hip injury since March 15. He now has four MVP's, three NBA Championships, and three Finals MVP's. "They can not. We can not go to Boston 2-2 and then it becomes nearly an even series".
If the Cavs had lost Game 5 to the Celtics, they'd have played Game 6 on Saturday and Game 7 on Monday. "Like it hurt me".
It said everything about who the 2017 Green-and-White were, their dedication to the game and what they represented - and, most importantly, the size of their hearts.
Thomas said he never doubted that coach Brad Stevens and general manager Danny Ainge were more concerned about his future than getting him back into the game. "Their mindset hasn't changed (since Thomas went down), it's just the way they're playing has changed". "It means that I've got to go straight to work tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to watching these prospects".
"It's just my personal goal to keep me motivated, that's all", James said.
"I have no clue what's going to go on", said Celtics' guard Marcus Smart.
Normally I am not one for rewarding a "good effort", but in this case it matters.
Thomas' sister, Chyna, was killed in a vehicle accident the morning of Boston's first playoff game.
Answer: 9 p.m. EDT on June 1 in Oakland, Calif. The 43 points Cleveland scored in the first quarter set a team postseason record for a quarter.
"You look back at it and you can always say you did this or you did that", said Jonas Jerebko. "It's been the best season of my career, but it's also been the toughest year of my life". After the Cavs dropped Game 3 in Cleveland, then bounced back with a win in Game 4 despite some shaky moments, and to get the series-clinching Game 5 victory, the Cavaliers turned to their Big Three of James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. He is eligible for free agency after next season.
After signing Al Horford in the offseason - the biggest free agent acquisition in the history of the NBA's most-decorated franchise - the Celtics rode him and Thomas to the No. 1 seed in the East.