We have the first of what could be two game sevens in the Conference Finals.
Down 3-2 and facing elimination, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Boston Celtics 109-99 to force a decisive showdown Sunday.
The Cavaliers were without All-Star forward Kevin Love for most of the game. Love was forced out of the game following a severe head-to-head collision with Jayson Tatum. Both went down after colliding with each other. Love was helped up off the floor and looked unsteady as he walked to the bench. He was then taken to the locker room for closer evaluation and further treatment. His game 7 status is uncertain.
Tatum said this of his collision with Love:
I didn’t see him coming, it was bad. I have a knot on the back of my head and he didn’t return. I wish the best for Kevin Love because he’s a great player and it’s been a long season.
Cleveland did not take its first lead of the game until the 8:06 mark of the second quarter, when the Cavaliers edged ahead 34-33. They would lead by as much as 14, before ultimately taking an eleven-point advantage into the half, 54-43.
The second half would see Cavaliers maintain a double-digit advantage for most of the half. Boston would draw no closer than seven points (something they would do on three separate occasions) and when they seemed poised to put the heat on Cleveland, the Cavaliers would make the play required to push the lead to nine or ten points, keeping the Celtics at bay and ultimately prevailing by ten points,109-99.
LeBron James played like a guy who wasn’t ready for his season to end, scoring 46 points and adding 11 rebounds and 9 assists.
”Greatness,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. ”Championship pedigree. Giving it his all. We needed that, especially when Kevin went down. We had to play `Bron as many minutes as he had to. He delivered. He was up for the challenge. He carried us home as usual.”
Though the sports media has attempted to tell us LeBron James has no help, George Hill was good, scoring twenty points on a very efficient 7-of-12 shooting. Hill also added three rebounds and two assists. Jeff Green scored 14 and Larry Nance, Jr. chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
Game 7 is Sunday at 8:30 EST. Should Cleveland win, it would mark the first road victory for in the series.