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 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -LeBron James scored 23 points, and Cleveland advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 15 years with an 88-72 victory over New Jersey on Friday night.
Cleveland won the series 4-2 and heads to Detroit on Monday night for its third appearance in a conference finals and the first since 1992. James, who had eight rebounds and eight assists, needed only four years to get the Cavs into the NBA's final four.
James spent most of the third quarter on the bench in foul trouble and Cleveland managed just eight points. New Jersey cut what had been a 22-point deficit to one, but James returned and reserves Donyell Marshall and Daniel Gibson hit big shots and the Nets never could take the lead.
Marshall was 6-of-10 from 3-point range for 18 points and Gibson added eight points. They had combined for 26 points total in the first five games of the series.
Jason Kidd had 19 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Nets, who lost in the conference semifinals for the second straight year.
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