Finished TV: ESPN TD Garden Boston
The Boston Celtics have yet to lose at home in the playoffs, but a Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers is different from every other test the young team has faced in the postseason. The Celtics will try to hold homecourt advantage and turn away James and company when they host the Cavaliers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday.
James stepped up with his team facing elimination in Game 6 on Friday, collecting 46 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in 46 minutes to push Cleveland to a 109-99 win and put himself one win away from an eighth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. "I have a drive. I have a love of the game. I have a passion for the game," James told reporters. "While I have the opportunity to lace my shoes up and put a uniform on, then I try to go out and do my job to the best of my ability. ... I haven't always played great in my career. But I just always want to try to maximize when I'm on the floor, and I've been able to." Boston is trying to maximize its own potential and is prepared for a fight in Game 7. "It's about just winning the game now," Celtics guard Marcus Smart told reporters. "It's not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can't go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight. We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied, we got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied, we have to come out ready to fight."
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: Cleveland will spend the off day and the hours leading up to Game 7 monitoring the health of James, who was forced to play through a knee injury in the fourth quarter on Friday, and the team is expected to be without power forward Kevin Love in Game 7 after he was placed in the concussion protocol. The Cavaliers used a combination of players in the second half on Friday to fill the gap caused by the exit of Love, who has a history of concussions and did not play after the break. Jeff Green (14 points) and Larry Nance Jr. (10 points on 5-of-5 shooting) stepped up in Love's absence and will be counted on again in Game 7.
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Boston took the first three home games in the series by an average of 17 points and already has one Game 7 home win under its belt in the postseason after knocking off the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. "It's going to be a lot of fun, first and foremost," Celtics point guard Terry Rozier told reporters of playing Game 7 at home. "...We need the whole city of Boston to be behind us. We know LeBron is different than a lot of other guys, but we've got to get the job done. That's no excuse, so we're looking forward to it." Rozier scored a series-high 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting in Game 6 after slumping to eight points on 3-of-15 in Game 5.
1. Cavaliers PG George Hill scored a postseason-best 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in Game 6.
2. Celtics SG Jaylen Brown is averaging 20.8 points in the series.
3. Cleveland SG Kyle Korver is 10-of-17 from 3-point range over the last four games.
PREDICTION: Celtics 106, Cavaliers 103
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|Jeff Green||Position: Forward (F) |
|LeBron James||Position: Forward (F) |
|Tristan Thompson||Position: Center (C) |
|George Hill||Position: Guard (G) |
|JR Smith||Position: Guard (G) |
|Larry Nance Jr.|
|Al Horford||Position: Forward (F) |
|Jayson Tatum||Position: Forward (F) |
|Aron Baynes||Position: Center (C) |
|Terry Rozier||Position: Guard (G) |
|Jaylen Brown||Position: Guard (G) |