LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers advance to NBA Finals

Limiting their impact will be among the chief goals for the Celtics heading into Sunday's Game 7 matchup.

Cleveland Cavaliers have made the NBA Finals once again after another heroic display from LeBron James, though he may not stick around for long.

The Celtics had been a spotless 10-0 this postseason at TD Garden before James & Co. delivered a lone season-ending blemish. The Celtics, however, have withstood a stellar James performance and escaped with a victory earlier in this series. What happens after this is fairly easy to see - Kyrie Irving isn't walking through that door, after all - but the king did it.

"I love the way we defended and for the most part if you take away Game 1 and the second half of Game 2, we've been defending at a high clip", James said. "It's a heck of a challenge". That's just how dominant James has been this season, which is his 15th in the league.

Since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams, the only other players to average 30 points or more in three straight rounds on the way to the Finals were Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan, who did it twice.

That's just one of many reasons I can't wait for Sunday's game.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said that amid all the upheaval with trades in and out, James had been a true leader. We needed that, especially when Kevin went down.

Pushed by a raucous crowd that wasn't so confident a few days ago, the Cavs held off Boston's comeback in the fourth quarter and squared a series that is now a best-of-three.

"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 7!"

Although they're unbeaten at home in the playoffs, Rozier said the Celtics can't afford to be complacent. "You've got to find a way, whatever it takes". "I can't say enough good things about him".

Every game there has turned into a sequel of Honey I Shrunk the Cavs, the veteran visitors unexplainably overmatched by the moment. They have to be exhausted, and that's no way to go into a series against Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Warriors, who blew Cleveland away in five games previous year, or James Harden and a Rockets team that can be every bit as potent on one end and lock teams down on the other. To top it off, James was playing on a sore right leg after Larry Nance Jr. fell into him in Game 6. He led the team with 28 points, including going 6-for-10 from beyond the arc.

How about George Hill, who scored 20 points.

Jeff Green came off the bench to post easily his best game of the series - notching nine of his 14 points in the second quarter after Love went down.

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. Love threw one of his patented "touchdown" passes in the first quarter to James, who outmaneuvered Smart and Brown like a wide receiver to make the catch and score.

  • Julie Sanders