Cleveland Cavaliers now await the winners of the tie between the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards after clinching a place in the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.
Matthew Dellavedova scored 19 points. Meanwhile, Tristan Thompson contributed 13 points and 17 rebounds to guide the Cavaliers home to a convincing 94-73 win over the Chicago Bulls in game 6 of the semifinal tie at Chicago. This is going to be Cav’s first Conference final appearance since 2009. Without any significant contribution from superstar LeBron James, and all-star point-guard Kyrie Irving leaving for the locker room in the first half with a hobbling knee, the Cavaliers managed to pull off a comfortable 4-2 series victory. Kevin Love is also suffering from a post-season shoulder injury.
“These guys work their tails off every single day when you guys are not around,” James showered praise on his team-mates. “Yes, I’m a little bit surprised because of how we’ve handled the postseason so far. These are first-timers right here (Dellavedova and Thompson) as well as Kyrie and Kev before the injury. They want to be good, they want to be great, and every single day they prepare the right way.”
James led the Cavaliers with 38 points to win game 5. In game 6 he scored only 15 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. It’s going to be his 5th straight Conference final; the previous four was with Miami.
“I do everything for my team, do everything for my teammates,” James said later. “I want these guys to be able to feel this moment. That’s what I came back here for. I’ve got four guys that never made the postseason that played a huge role on this team.”
The Bulls tied 35-35 at a point. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 20 points.