The Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Atlanta Hawks in the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals with a 118-88 rout in Game 4 on May 26. It is the Cavs' first trip to the NBA Finals since 2007.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the NBA Finals.
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Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out eight assists in another sterling, all-around performance to lead the Cavaliers to a 118-88 rout of the No.1-seeded Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 and a sweep of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals, per Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
James, who secured his fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance dating back to his days with the Miami Heat, told TNT (via The Northeast Ohio Media Group) during a postgame interview he likes the toughtness and resiliency of his Cavaliers.
"We have grit," James said. "We have what it takes to win a championship."
According to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, James is the first NBA player to achieve the feat since Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics of the 1960s:
Per Elias: LeBron will be first player to make 5 straight Finals since...the '60s Celtics. Bill Russell, Satch Sanders, KC Jones, Sam Jones— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) May 27, 2015
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert told the fans present at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland during the Eastern Conference champions trophy presentation after the game how tightly-knit the team is, per Haynes.
"It's a family. They love each other," he said. "But we're not settling for just this."
Cavaliers forward J.R. Smith continued his strong playoff showing, scoring 18 points off the bench. Tristan Thompson added 16 points and 11 rebounds while three-time All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed the previous two games of the series with left-knee tendinitis, had 16 points as well, per Haynes.
Center Timofey Mozgov had 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, per The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
On the other hand, All-Star point guard Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 17 points. Fellow All-Star Paul Millsap added 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, per Haynes.
Irving got Cleveland off to a great start by scoring nine points and a 32-20 lead after one quarter. Thompson continued to impress by making a shot at the quarter buzzer, per Freeman.
James promptly picked up where Irving left off by scoring 10 points during the first six minutes of the second quarter, the lead ballooning to 53-33. Hawks center Al Horford, who had 14 points before his first-half ejection in Game 3, shot 0-of-4 during the first half, per Yahoo! Sports.
Freeman says Horford finished with just two points in 29 minutes of action.
In sharp contrast, the Cavaliers shot 51.7 percent from the field during the first 24 minutes on their way to a 59-42 lead at halftime, per USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt.
They never looked back.
Once the final horn sounded, the Hawks shot just 5-of-32 from three-point distance, says Zillgitt.
The Cavaliers also asserted their might on the boards against the Hawks. They had a 56-39 rebounding edge, per Haynes.
Should the Cavaliers go on to win the 2015 NBA title, Haynes says they will give the city of Cleveland its first professional sports crown since the NFL's Cleveland Browns last did it in 1964.
Cleveland now awaits the winner of the Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets matchup in the Western Conference Finals where the former holds a 3-1 series lead. Game 5 is set for Wednesday, May 27, at Oakland's Oracle Arena, per The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Haynes says the 2015 NBA Finals will start on June 4.
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