LeBron James leads Cleveland Cavaliers to game seven with 46-point domination of the Boston Celtics
The 33-year-old delays decisions about his future and keeps his dream of reaching an eighth straight NBA Finals alive
LeBron James scored 46 points and preserved his reign atop the Eastern Conference for at least one more game as the Cleveland Cavaliers shook off losing All-Star Kevin Love with a head injury to beat the Boston Celtics 109-99 and force a game seven.
James, playing in perhaps his final game for the Cavs in Cleveland, delivered another sensational performance – he added 11 rebounds and nine assists while playing all but two minutes – to avoid elimination and delay any decisions about his future.
The king is not dead and he still has a chance to make his eighth straight NBA Finals.
“It feels good just to be able to play for another game,” James said. “Like I’ve always said, game seven is the best two words in sport. We should relish the opportunity and have fun with it.”
This back-and-forth series, in which home court has meant everything, will have a climatic conclusion in Boston, where the Celtics are 10-0 this postseason.
— NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2018
“We have one game to be able to compete for a championship, and what more could you ask for?” James said. “If I’d have told you at the beginning of the season we only needed one game to make the NBA Finals, we’d take it.”
George Hill added 20 points and Jeff Green 14 for the Cavs. They won their eighth straight at home and will play their second game seven of these play-offs.
Terry Rozier paced the Celtics with 28 points and Jaylen Brown had 27. The Celtics were still within seven in the final three minutes before James made consecutive three-pointers, punctuating the second by pounding his chest with both fists and screaming along with 20,562 others.
Just for good measure, he added a three-point play and then was taken out of the game to a rousing ovation and chants of “Cavs in seven”.
— NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2018
“Just a lot of heart, a lot of grit, being resilient,” James said.
Boston’s improbable run through the postseason without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will now take the Celtics back home, where they play with more intensity, togetherness and before fans hungry to see an 18th title banner raised to their arena’s rafters.
Love went out with a head injury in the first quarter, forcing Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to juggle his rotations and keep James on the floor longer than he wanted to.
The three-time champion played the first 35 minutes without a break and then endured the final eight while nursing a sore lower leg.
Backed by a sea of towel-waving fans wearing white “Cleveland whatever it takes” T-shirts, James did just that to push the series to Boston, where he has had some of his biggest moments on the renowned parquet floor.
In 2014, he had 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in game six for Miami, who went on to win the NBA title. He also scored 45 in a game seven loss for Cleveland in 2008 and now has a chance to boost his stunning resume further if he can get the Cavs to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals.