James will probably have to do it again in Game 7 to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth straight year, something accomplished only by Bill Russell and some of his Celtics teammates in the 1960s.
Said James, who could be playing his final game in his second stint with the Cavaliers: "Just go out and trust what you've built on all year". Even so, network execs could have reason to wonder if the lack of novelty could erode viewership - though if the conference championship round has taught us anything, it's that the best ratings tonic is often a seven-game series.
James was getting rebounds, handing out assists, getting steals, and even had a chasedown block.
By one measurement, 2017-18 has been as arduous of a season as James has ever had: Sunday marks his 100th game played between the regular season and playoffs, tying for the most he's ever played with his 2010-11 season with the Miami Heat. Overall, James is 8-2 this postseason when he's logged 40+ minutes.
"Nothing else matters now except for tonight", coach Tyronn Lue said.
In Game 2, Nance had 11 minutes, and Thompson had 29. I'm sticking with the Celtics to get the win and book their ticket to the NBA Finals. "You just have to have ideal intentions", Stevens said Saturday.
Discussion after Game 5 was centered squarely on how LeBron James ran out of gas and how rookie Jason Tatum ran circles around the aging superstar. "I think that's one of the things that I don't think has been lost on this group throughout its entire journey, before the playoffs and now, is we have fun. The first one, that was ridiculous".
"It's gonna be tough", Cavs point guard George Hill said. He was helped off and walked to the bench unsteadily before heading to the locker room for further treatment and evaluation. He had to be helped to the sideline and at halftime the Cavaliers said he wouldn't return. "But also Jeff Green will be in, we're aware of him".
"It feels good just to play for another game, and like I've always said "Game 7" is the best two words in sports", LeBron said.
After a few moments he rose gingerly and continued. Stevens said. "That's the way that I look at it, that's the way that they look at it". The three-time champion played the first 35 minutes without a break and then endured the final eight while nursing a sore lower leg. Jaylen Brown scored 27 for Boston, who led by five at the end of a spirited first quarter but finally had no answer for James.
The Celtics have the defenders to collectively shut down everyone except for James, and when they do that, they have the five or six offensive players that will do enough to beat anything that James can do by himself. In a sense, the Celtics have relied on their home crowd to make up for the losses of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward due to injury.
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