Kevin Love out for Game 7 vs. Celtics with concussion-like symptoms
- Author: Julie Sanders May 28, 2018,
May 28, 2018, 1:14
The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and elimination-game superhero played all but one minute and 54 seconds of Game 6, scoring 46 points - a career-high in an elimination game - on 17-for-33 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block to lead the Cavaliers to a 109-99 Game 6 win. James now has 13 career playoff games with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, the most such games in National Basketball Association postseason history.
The king is not dead, and he still has a chance to make his eighth straight NBA Finals.
"I have to focus and try to do the same things that I prepared today to take into Sunday", Hill said after Game 6. "We should relish the opportunity and have fun with it".
Instead, Smart wants to see his team get "down and dirty". If they lose, they'll be watching the NBA Finals from home for the first time in four seasons.
The Celtics walked through their sets during a shootaround this morning and Brad Stevens tried to keep preparations on the eve of tonight's Game 7 against Cleveland as normal as possible.
In Games 1, 2 and 5 in Boston, the Cavs went 0-3 and were outscored by 51 points.
That means James didn't get the job done this time - though he did have 27 points, eight rebounds and two assists in nearly 47 minutes in a lopsided Detroit victory that saw the rest of Cleveland's roster combine to shoot 9-for-41 and score 34 points.
Which players owned the night?
"I felt some pain throughout my entire right side of my ankle into my leg", said James, who played 46 of 48 minutes.
But coach Tyronn Lue was impressed with how his team responded in Game 6 and expects a similar performance, should Love be sidelined in Game 7.
The Celtics have already played a Game 7 in this postseason, handily beating Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
Notes: James chose Boston as the place he'll play next.
The Cavaliers appeared doomed in the first quarter when the team's All-Star forward, Kevin Love, clashed heads with Boston rookie Jayson Tatum and was forced to the locker room. The Celtics need to defend, then run - they need to force the pace and try to wear down the older Cavaliers. If he has one more in him like that, the Cavs' season won't end Sunday. Both teams have just a day of rest - which James said will be used for "around-the-clock" treatment - before Game 7. Everyone had an opinion on what James will do next and that discussion filled the sports talk radio airwaves, bars and barber shops.
And, of course, he left once before in 2010, bolting for Miami. He played instead of Thompson during this series, up until the final game. "And the difference is I think that Smart - when Smart says ugly and physical, in his mind, that's attractive". Overall, James is 8-2 this postseason when he's logged 40+ minutes.
For Love, who missed most of the 2015 playoffs with a separated shoulder, the head injury is the latest blow in what has been a challenging few months.