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Cavaliers sweep Hawks, LeBron returns to NBA Finals for 5th straight season

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports / reuters

For the fifth consecutive season, LeBron James will represent the East in the NBA Finals.

James posted 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers finish off the Atlanta Hawks in a 4-0 series sweep with a 118-88 point victory on Tuesday.

The shorthanded Hawks were blitzed from the tip and never recovered. Spurred by the return of Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers led by 12 after the first quarter and pushed their lead to 19 by halftime.

The Cavaliers will face the winner of between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Turning Point

The Cavaliers had one thing on their minds on Tuesday: to sweep the Hawks.

There wasn't much of a turning point. The Cavaliers led for 46 minutes and enjoyed a double-digit cushion for almost the entirety of the game.

Cleveland relentlessly attacked from the start. Irving gave the team a boost early with nine points in the first quarter off a smattering of quick dribble-drives and catch-and-shoot jumpers. His performance was a promising sign for Cavaliers fans as Irving had missed Games 2 and 3 with a lingering case of knee tendinitis.

James capped off the early charge with an emphatic dunk. After picking off a lazy pass by Jeff Teague, he took flight from a step inside the free-throw line for a thunderous transition dunk.

LeBron James throws the hammer down! #NBAvine Cavs

The Cavaliers went on to win all four quarters by five or more points as part of a 30-point walloping of the helpless Hawks.

Star Performer

To put LeBron's dominance into perspective, James came just three assists shy of averaging a triple-double for the entire series.

He finished the Conference Finals with averages of 30.3 points, 11 rebounds, 9.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while single-handedly dragging the injured Cavaliers back to the Finals for first time since 2007.

With two steals on Tuesday, James also moved past Larry Bird for seventh on the all-time playoff steals list. He also improved to 8-0 lifetime against the Hawks in the postseason.

Most importantly, James has now made the Finals for five straight seasons. He (and sidekick James Jones) becomes the first player to achieve that feat since the members of the 1960s Boston Celtics.

Highlight Reel

Jeff Teague freezes Matthew Dellavedova with slick Eurostep.

Jeff Teague with a beautiful move!

Dellavedova's prayers have finally been answered.

I thought this was a lob... Til it went in.

Additional Highlights

Series at a Glance

Game 1: Cavaliers 97, Hawks 89 (Cavaliers lead 1-0)
Game 2: Cavaliers 94, Hawks 82 (Cavaliers lead 2-0)
Game 3: Cavaliers 114, Hawks 111 (OT) (Cavaliers lead 3-0 )
Game 4: Tuesday, May 26, 8:30 p.m. ET (Cavaliers win 4-0)

Alternate Series at a Glance

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