LeBron advances to 8th straight NBA Finals as Cavaliers nip Celtics in Game 7
LOS ANGELES, USA – LeBron James finished with 35 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers reached their 4th straight NBA finals with an 87-79 Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday, May 27 (Monday, May 28, Manila time).
James put on another epic Game 7 performance by rallying his team in the second half as he booked a spot in his 8th consecutive finals.
"Win, loss, or draw, at end of my career you are never going to get someone to say I didn't leave it out on floor," James said.
Cleveland became the first team to win on the road in the series and the first to beat the Celtics at home in the postseason.
"We've been counted out for a long time this season."— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 28, 2018
LeBron James is determined. (Via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/4W2DoGbL0X
The Cavaliers will take on either the reigning champion Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets in the championship series. The Warriors dominated the Rockets 115-86 on Saturday, May 26, to force a decisive Game 7 which will take place Monday, May 28, in Houston.
James led the Cavaliers in the first half with 17 points and 10 rebounds but they trailed for much of the half.
It wasn't until the 3rd quarter that his supporting staff came to life and the Cavaliers were able to wrestle control back from the Celtics.
"He's unbelievable," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "I thought it was an outstanding defensive game. And again he still had 35, 15, and 9. It's a joke."
Jeff Green finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds, JR Smith tallied 12 points, and Tristan Thompson scored 10 for Cleveland who beat Boston 109-99 on Friday, May 25, to force Game 7.
"I have learned probably everything alongside possibly the best player to have played this game," said Green. "I am seeing firsthand what it is to be great."
Jayson Tatum paced the Celtic attack with 24 points as Boston suffered its only loss in 11 playoff home games.
Al Horford finished with 17 points and Jaylen Brown had 13 but he was just 3-of-12 from the 3-point line. Boston shot a dismal 7-of-39 overall from beyond the arc.
The Celtics ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run and led 43-39 at the half.
Horford scored 14 points and Tatum had 11 in the first half for the Celtics who up until Sunday had played with more intensity and aggressiveness at home during this postseason.
The possibility existed that a loss Sunday would have been James' last game with the Cavaliers.
He can opt out of his $35.6-million contract at the end of the season and become a free agent.
James has said in the past he plans to retire a Cavalier but this is his second stint in Cleveland after he left once before for Miami in 2010. He plans to sit down with management after the season ends but Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York are believed to be ready to pounce if he becomes available.
The Cavaliers won despite not having Kevin Love, who left Game 6 after banging heads with Boston's Tatum. Love was placed in the league's concussion protocol and his status for the finals is to be determined. – Rappler.com