James delivered another performance for the ages, and the Cavs overcame the loss of Kevin Love to injury to beat the Boston Celtics 109-99 on Friday to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals. It means James' streak of seven straight Finals is on the line, and it's time to talk again about how this Game 6 against the Celtics Friday could be his last in a Cleveland uniform at The Q. Jayson Tatum looked like a veteran out there as he led the team with 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks, Jaylen Brown added 17 points while Al Horford chipped in with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Whether he actually has enough gas in the tank to lead the Cavs past Game 6 and beyond is yet to be seen. His 31.1 points per game were good though he had a career low 19.4% shooting from three-point land despite having the second most attempts from there in his postseason career (3.5 attempts per game with 0.7 makes).
No one knows how James does it, he just does. Smith has 20 points in two home games and six points in three games in Boston. And, of course, two doting parents and a support system that includes his godfather, Larry Hughes, the who starred for one season at St. Louis U. before embarking on an National Basketball Association career that began in 1998 and ended in 2012.
Tatum, however, missed out on joining Philadelphia 76ers point guard Simmons and Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in receiving a unanimous selection as one voter chose not to include him on his first-team ballot.
It's now or never for the Cavaliers as they face an elimination game tonight at home against Boston.
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If Boston looks to clinch the series, they'll have to continue to get production from the core that has got them to this point. Tatum was dazed by the blow, but Love crumpled to the court and held the back of his head. If this group, with Love or without him, has anything left Sunday, buckle up.
Lue was more candid than was his usual custom after the game, opining that his superstar and meal ticket, L. James, "looked a little exhausted to me, yes". "I know what's at stake the next game".
"I'm fine", he told the press corps. "The same thing happened I think Game 1 or 2; I can't remember".
Cavaliers: Improved to 6-2 in elimination game since 2015. He's scored 40 or more seven times this postseason.
And if the rumors are true, this could be James' final game with the Cavaliers in Cleveland.