The NBA is getting the Finals everyone has been waiting for all year

The NBA has been waiting for this moment all year: Cavs-Warriors round three.

On Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers soundly beat the Boston Celtics in Game 5 to finish off the Eastern Conference Finals and get to the main course.

The Golden State Warriors will meet them there, waiting since Monday after sweeping the Spurs and becoming the first team in NBA history to go 12-0 through the first three rounds of the playoffs.

To say this felt inevitable isn't an exaggeration. From the time the Cavaliers finished off an historic comeback in last year's Finals, coming back from a 3-1 deficit, the sports world pondered what the Warriors' revenge might look like. The anticipation only grew when the 73-win Warriors added Kevin Durant in free agency.

RELATED: The 2017 NBA playoffs in photos

33 PHOTOS
The 2017 NBA playoffs in photos
See Gallery
The 2017 NBA playoffs in photos
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 08: Mirza Teletovic #35 (R) of the Milwaukee Bucks pushes on Tiago Splitter #47 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on April 8, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bucks won 90-82. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 23: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics is called for a charge against Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls as he tries to move between Butler and Isaiah Canaan #0 (L) during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 23: Raymond Felton #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz go for the loose ball in the second half of the 105-98 win by the Jazz in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 23, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 18: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks the ball as Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Toronto Raptors looks on in the first half of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on April 18, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 16: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards and Tim Hardaway Jr. #10 of the Atlanta Hawks go after a loose ball in the first half of Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center on April 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 18: George Hill #3 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket as he is guarded by Luc Mbah a Moute #12 of the LA Clippers during a 99-91 Clippers win in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 18: Marreese Speights #5 of the LA Clippers is fouled by Joe Johnson #6 of the Utah Jazz during a 99-91 Clippers win in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 18: Luc Mbah a Moute #12 of the LA Clippers scores on a layup past Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 18: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the LA Clippers dunks the ball against the Utah Jazz during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 18: Boston Celtics' Isaiah Thomas has his shot blocked by Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler during the fourth quarter. The Boston Celtics host the Chicago Bulls in game 2 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden in Boston on Apr. 18, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 18: Boston Celtics' Isaiah Thomas wears shoes honoring his sister Chyna, who recently died in an auto accident. The Boston Celtics host the Chicago Bulls in game 2 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden in Boston on Apr. 18, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 18: PJ Tucker #2 and Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors embrace before the game against the Milwaukee Bucks during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2017 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL, 18 In first half action, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drops in a jam. The Toronto Raptors took on the Milwaukee Bucks in NBA basketball action at the Air Canada Centre in game 2 of the first round of playoffs. April 18, 2017 Richard Lautens/Toronto Star (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 18: The Toronto Raptors huddle up before the game against the Milwaukee Bucks during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2017 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 17 : Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives against Dewayne Dedmon #3 of the San Antonio Spurs in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 17, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers tries to control the ball in front of Thaddeus Young #21 of the Indiana Pacers during the first half in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 16: Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets and Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at tipoff during Game One of the first round of the Western Conference 2017 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 16, 2017 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 16: Boston Celtics Isaiah Thomas picks up an offensive foul called on Chicago Bulls Dwayne Wade during fourth quarter action of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden in Boston on April 16, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 16: Boston Celtics Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley checks on teammate Isaiah Thomas after a hard foul against the Chicago Bulls during fourth quarter action of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden in Boston on April 16, 2017. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 16: Stephen Curry #30 and Ian Clark #21 of the Golden State Warriors react during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers during the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2017 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics reacts during the second quarter of Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden on April 30, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Thomas lost his front tooth after colliding with Otto Porter Jr. #22. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 24: (Editor's Note: this image was converted to black and white.) Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors warms up prior to the game against the Portland Trail Blazers during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Moda Center on April 24, 2017 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 27: Vince Carter #15 of the Memphis Grizzlies collides with Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs during the first half of Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 27, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 04: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors attempts a steal against Derrick Favors #15 of the Utah Jazz during Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
May 5, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) defends as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) tries to make a basket in game three of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 11: Danny Green #14 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots a lay up during the game against the Houston Rockets during Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards reacts after hitting the game-winning three-point basket in their 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics during Game Six of the NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Finals at Verizon Center on May 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Washington Wizards during Game Seven of the NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Finals at TD Garden on May 15, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 17: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second half during Game One of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 17, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 20: JaVale McGee #1 of the Golden State Warriors exchanges words with Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs in the first half during Game Three of the 2017 NBA Western Conference Finals at AT&T Center on May 20, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 21: Al Horford #42 celebrates with Jonas Jerebko #8 of the Boston Celtics late in their 111 to 108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Three of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Five of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Warriors' regular season was more understated than many expected, but it was nonetheless dominant. They didn't top their own regular-season win record, but they actually improved upon their scoring margin. Somehow, there was less hype around these super-team Warriors than in 2015-16, but hype or not, the 2016-17 version is actually better. Nobody truly believed any team in the Western Conference could beat them four times in seven games.

And if the Warriors' season was understated then the Cavs' was disappointing. Cleveland slogged their way to a 51-31 record in which LeBron James complained about his supporting cast and the team as a whole treated defense with indifference. They somehow finished second in the East, leading to questions about whether they could truly "flip the switch" come the postseason.

Almost immediately in the first round, both teams made it clear they have no equal in their respective conferences. The Warriors haven't lost a game since April 10. The Cavs, meanwhile, tightened up their defense while LeBron James launched into superhuman mode, carrying the Cavs to a 12-1 record in the playoffs with one of the finest all-around postseasons of his career.

Now comes the Finals everyone has been waiting for, as if the regular season was simply a formality.

James, edging ever closer to the "Greatest of All Time" title, has a legacy at stake. It would be hard to overlook at 3-5 Finals record, just as last year, it would have been hard to overlook a 2-5 Finals record. James avoided that stain on his legacy with an otherworldly performance. He may need to summon one again this year.

The Warriors, the team with the best record over three years in NBA history, will face increased criticism if they fail to come away with more than one championship during that span.

The Warriors have the overall talent and depth, the Cavs have the best player and the formula to do it.

Get ready.

NOW WATCH: We took an intense yoga lesson from a WWE legend

More from Business Insider:

RELATED: NBA WAG's: Wives and girlfriends of the NBA playoffs

17 PHOTOS
NBA WAG's: Wives and girlfriends of the NBA playoffs
See Gallery
NBA WAG's: Wives and girlfriends of the NBA playoffs

Wife of Russell Westbrook, Nina Earl

Wife of LeBron James, Savannah Brinson

Wife of Isaiah Thomas, Kayla Wallace

Reported girlfriend of Kevin Durant, Brittney Elena
Dwyane Wade's wife Gabrielle Union
Wife of Steph Curry, Ayesha Curry

Girlfriend of Draymond Green, Jelissa Hardy

Wife of Al Horford, Amelia Vega
Girlfriend of Kevin Love, Kate Bock

Wife of Chris Paul, Jada Crawley

Wife of J.J. Reddick, Chelsea Kilgore
Wife of Paul Pierce, Julie Pierce
Girlfriend of DeAndre Jordan, Amber Alvarez

Girlfriend of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mariah Riddlesprigger

Rumored girlfriend of Jimmy Butler, Shay Mitchell

Wife of JR Smith, Jewel Smith
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.