BOSTON - Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue ranked LeBron James' 35-point, 15-rebound, 9-assist, 2-block performance while playing all 48 minutes in an 87-79 Game 7 win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals Sunday as "the best" of James' illustrious career.
All in all, this was this team's first postseason run together, and having the NBA's best player on the ropes no matter his supporting cast is an impressive feat.
James, seeking his eighth straight trip to the Finals, comes in averaging 34.9 in Game 7s - including his 45 to help eliminate the Indiana Pacers in this year's first round.
James has reached the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons, including four in a row with Cleveland.
Tristan Thompson was the fourth Cavalier starter to tally double-figures, chipping in with 10 points on a ideal 4-of-4 from the floor, adding nine boards and rendering Boston's Aron Baynes completely ineffective - holding the Celtics starting big to three points and without a single shot attempt.
James had to do it without Kevin Love - Cleveland's only other all-star - who sustained a concussion in Game 6 and was replaced in the lineup by Jeff Green. "I thought it was an outstanding defensive game". The Rockets host a deciding game seven of the Western Conference finals on Monday night. The guys look for someone to step up in Houston, or if we're ready for the fourth installment of the Warriors and Cavs.
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The Horford-Draymond comparison is a good one on another level too. That means the victor between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will move on to compete for an National Basketball Association title, while the other team goes home.
"It's hard for our group", said Horford. Cleveland went ahead by as many as five after that before taking a 59-56 lead into the fourth. The Cavs won the best-of-seven series 4-3. When Rozier went up for the lay-in, James blocked it off the backboard and right to Green.
The fact that the Celtics attempted to limit his effectiveness as the central focus of their game plan and he was still able to lead the charge effective for the Cavaliers only speaks to his special abilities on the court. That ghastly mark from three-point land made Rozier the first player in Celtic playoff history to attempt at least 10 three-point attempts and fail to drop any of them, outdoing the 1-for-10 Isaiah Thomas posted against the Bulls in round one last spring. Boston went six minutes while mustering just one field goal - a Marcus Morris second-chance fadeaway - and the Cavaliers put together a little burst to pull within two with under three minutes to play in the half.
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He left the Garden looking downtrodden after shooting just 5-for-18 and 3-for-12 on 3-pointers, but he'll be back.