LeBron James passes Michael Jordan as NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader

LeBron struggles, exchanges words with fan after Game 3 loss

James referred to the Warriors as only "that juggernaut" and "a beast" following Thursday's Game 5 in at Boston, a night in which he passed Michael Jordan as the career postseason scoring leader.

By winning the Eastern Conference Championship with a 135-102 Game 5 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden Thursday night, the Cavaliers earned the right to face the Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors for the National Basketball Association title for third straight season.

But if Games 3 and 4 are any indication, it won't be easy.

Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas wanted to keep playing in the Eastern Conference finals, but team doctors and officials convinced him he needed to shut down his season for his long-term health.

As the Cavs' stars did throughout the East finals, they worked together in fire-breathing tandem Thursday.

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With Cleveland in jeopardy of dropping its second game in a row after James followed an 11-point Game 3 debacle by picking up four first-half fouls, Irving put on a breathtaking one-man show.

Notes: Center Zaza Pachulia, who missed Games 3 and 4 at San Antonio in the Western Conference finals with a bruised right heel, is back going through full practices in preparation to play in his first career Finals. He was hot in the fourth quarter, putting up 15 points. Irving kept the good times rolling when he ended a scoring drought with a 23-foot step-back three-pointer from the left corner.

Nothing was keeping him out.

While Irving and James were scoring, Kevin Love dominated the glass with 17 rebounds to go with 17 points. Jae Crowder had 18 points, Al Horford dropped 16 and Avery Bradley had 19.

James was not himself early in the game.

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Lue said didn't deliver any inspiring speech to his players before practice. She was born almost five months early.

Lue should have warned James to be careful, too, as the superstar picked up four fouls and spent the final 6:46 of the first half watching from the bench, unable to help his team.

He capped his blistering 19-point outburst with a 3 in the final second of the quarter and celebrated at mid-court by pretending to put two pistols back in his holster.

Led by Kyrie's career night, the Big Three did nearly all the heavy lifting on Tuesday night - combining for 93 points, the most Cleveland's power troika has ever tallied in a playoff game. It was reported Monday night that Weltman and the Magic had agreed to a deal.

Then, after stealing a pass from Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko, James got space in the lane after a post-up and threw down a right-handed dunk that put the Cavaliers up, 28-12, and forced another Boston timeout. Cleveland is listed as a 10-point favorite in Game 5.

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