Cavs sweep away Hawks return to Finals

James scored 23 points, Kyrie Irving provided a boost after missing two games and Cleveland reserved a spot in the NBA Finals with a 118-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night to win the Eastern Conference title.

By sweeping the top-seeded Hawks, the Cavs, who overcame adversity from the season’s start, earned their second trip to the finals, where they will face either Golden State or Houston starting June 4.

It will be the fifth straight visit to the league’s showcase event for the inimitable James, who returned to Cleveland after four years in Miami to try and end this city’s championship drought dating to 1964. If he can, James will have a title that would put him in a class by himself. Other players have won more championships, but none has ever done it for his ring-starved home region.

When he announced his return last summer, James talked about ending a championship dry spell that has linked generations. He has a chance to turn Cleveland, a city that has taken its fair share of knocks over the years, into a title town.

“I understood what these people were going through, the people here,” he said. “Not only in Cleveland but Northeast Ohio and all over the world who love and bleed wine and gold. To be at this point tonight, it’s very emotional.”

Jeff Teague scored 17 and Paul Millsap 16 for Atlanta, which won a team-record 60 games during the regular season and made the conference finals for the first time since 1970. But the Hawks were no match for the Cavaliers and had no answer for James, who nearly averaged a triple-double in the four games.

J.R. Smith added 18 points and Tristan Thompson had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who were handed new caps and T-shirts following the win and were joined by family members on the floor to celebrate.

Sitting at the podium with James, Smith, who had been vanquished to the Knicks bench before being traded in January, adjusted the brim on his “Finals” cap and took a selfie.

It was a tough way for the Hawks to end a remarkable season. They survived a tumultuous offseason, and their young roster jelled in January when they became the first franchise to go 17-0 in a calendar month. They went on to win 19 straight, improved their record by 22 wins over last season and beat Brooklyn and Washington in the first two rounds.

But an injury to starting forward Thabo Sefolosha in April was followed by DeMarre Carroll injuring his knee in the series opener, before Kyle Korver’s season ended in Game 2 with an ankle injury.

Those all hurt, but it was James who inflicted the most pain.

James carried the Cavs to their first finals appearance eight years ago, when they were swept by San Antonio. It was assumed the Cavs would get back again, but James left in 2010 to join the Heat, a move that dropped the Cavaliers from relevance and into the draft lottery four straight years. But those days are over — Cleveland and King James reign supreme in the East.

The Cavs got through the last two rounds without forward Kevin Love, who sustained a season-ending shoulder injury. His arrival last summer, joining James and Irving to form a big three, made Cleveland the team to beat in the East.


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Gotham Knights.

22 Episodes. Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Victoria Cartagena, Andrew Stewart-Jones, John Doman, Nicholas D’Agosto & Morena Baccarin.

Rouges, devils, dancers of the pale moonlight. They’re all here in this gallery of characters giving the true beginnings of Batman the origin story that the hero deserves. Marvel’s ‘Avengers’, ‘X-Men’ and ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ maybe winning the civil, comic-book infinity wars of the cinematic universe, before Batman and Superman put them up. But D.C. still have some capital in the small screen leagues before they reveal their ‘Dawn Of Justice’. Marvel’s ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’ and ‘Agent Carter’ have had trouble keeping up with the runaway ‘Flash’, whereas ‘Arrow’ has been a bullseye for many seasons now leaving other cupids green with envy. It wasn’t until Marvel and Netflix went as dark as the modern day caped crusader with their outside the box dominant ‘Daredevil’ that they really saw the small screen light with their lawyer/vigilante, blind street stalker and easily one of the best things the already formidable franchise has ever done. Yet, D.C. have an answer for that too in the darkest and most famous fictional city this side of Metropolis (now wouldn’t that be a spin off?), ‘Gotham’. Taking us back to Batman’s beginnings when he was just a boy called Bruce, with the Wayne foundation at his feet. All until he saw too much in his lace tying days, as two bodies fell in bullets and pearls on just another night in the sin and crime of this city in need of a symbol. This is ‘Gotham’ and before the Bat, there was a cop. A long way away from the commission, but armed with a badge and gun and the right to fight for the justice this city needs if not deserves.

Yes, this is Jim Gordon’s rodeo as this G.C.P.D. beat cop, battles all the law and disorder, in his own turf war with the darkness and the light as night falls on a city of animals and clowns. This is part ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy era superhero realism, part ‘Soprano’ thanks to dons like John Doman and part classic cop show leaving the competition ‘N.Y.P.D.’ blue. Coloured in chrome and bleak black and blue paint this smaller budget, but to scale show looks the part. As a matter of fact Gotham’s true New York City home has never looked better in its skyline, establishing shots…and that even counts when ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ took this gothic place from the classic Chicago capturing to the madness of midtown Manhattan. It all looks so good R. Kelly may start singing about this “city of culture” again, but boy you better believe this is no place of peace. Policing it all perfectly is Ben McKenzie as a forthright and fantastic Jim Gordon to the epic end of this new 22. Copping this role, this former shaggy haired kid off the ‘O.C.’ surf is THE part despite not having the trademark Gordon long hair, beard and drawn out face…yet. Give it a few years on this particular beat for the cop turned commissioner of Gotham City Police. McKenzie is easily the best thing about this show, but Donal Logue is more than just some emergency back-up. Or a partners oath word and lecture of caution. As the legendary comic cop Harvey Bullock, a beat by trade and age veteran, who in the very first episode goes on a Johnny Cash song rampage and tells the rookie of the year Jim Gordon to take some animal to the edge of the river and put a bullet in his head. The real McCoy, Logue hasn’t gone rouge yet. Yet you can bank on him going to the savings and trust of Harvey Dent (we can’t wait to see the slick Nick D’Agosto go all Two-Faces sick) and flip out between the coin faces of the right and wrong side of the law, over the next few seasons to become the donut and cigar chomping cop that was a few sprinkles and totes away from city corruption in the comics. As for Jim’s other partners the beautiful Erin Richards and Morena Baccarin literally fight for his affections and win ours and all our awe in the process.

Now how about those who deal with a trade that’s even more rouge? The gallery is more or less all here. So much so they’ve even added a new face that you won’t find in the comic strip (yet) in the form of Fish Mooney played by the out of the water and into the fire Jada Pinkett Smith. Arguably the shows biggest on paper billing star, who sadly won’t be around for the second season if rumour has it. Even though literally “it’s all good”. Still with her husband Will Smith arming up as sharpshooting Bat hunter and villain Deadshot for the ‘Suicide Squad’ movie, a cinematic crossover could be on the cards marked chance (if only). Still there’s plenty more femme fatales with fatalism on their mind like the roots of Poison Ivy or a Catwoman that’s even got Hathaway’s tongue, in the young, goggle wearing Camren Bicondova who looks like she could be Michelle Pfeiffer’s daughter. Still, when it comes to legendary rouge villains, not much holds an umbrella to the Penguin. And walking the waddle, Robin Lord-Taylor has become such a show and fan favourite that fans have been whispering and wishing this guy could and will end up in clown make-up and a purple suit, not a penguin one…but the nose says it all. Unquestionably however, our pick for best bad boy is Cory Michael Smith’s Edward Nigma. Truly an Enigma this guys transformation from mortician to morgue maker is bat-dropping, crazy, Carrey creative and classic. As he has laughs through panic and perversions of the mind, will you too? Or will you cry at these haunting hallucinations before the eye? Who leaves his mark without even asking a question? Riddle me that! We can’t wait to see what happens when this exclamation point answers the second season and the darker side of his origin. Just like our Bat-Boy David Mazouz who after the thrilling and guns blazing, ass kicking season finale, finished the first series off perfectly with a fan boy delightful discovery with butler Alfred. Played with a young, cockier Cockney, soldier swagger by great Brit Sean Pertwee, who could even make Caine and Irons lie in wait. All this and yet we want so much more. Which this promising show looks to guarantee in a second season as anticipated as a ‘True Detective’ one for this police department. Perhaps more dread from the dark, almost demonic Scarecrow story and perhaps the Freeze being taken off ice (without the Arnold puns) could tide us over like the birth of a baby called Rob. Or a medicine woman, like say a Dr. Quinn for this asylum of Arkham’s finest. But still just like the end of the real ‘Batman Begins’ and with all dues to that great, ginger, laughing kid, can someone please pass Jim Gordon an evidence bag with a Joker card in it? Then this great hand of a show will be playing its cards right! Show us a sign…or a signal! Now here’s a Batman! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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