4. Cleveland Cavaliers 87 – 2. Boston Celtics 79 (Cavaliers win 4-3)
Game 7 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics could be condensed into key moments
There was the flurry midway in the third quarter where James just dissected the Celtics to fully erase the double-digit lead Boston held in the first half.
He hit a three to cut the lead, found Green in the corner for a three to take the lead, got a lob to go to Tristan Thompson to increase the lead.
A turning point in the game came late in the third period when Terry Rozier intercepted a pass and rushed down court. The only thing between him and the rim was James. Rozier had the audacity to try and throw it down on the King. James wasn’t having any of it. He rose up, slapped the ball out of Rozier’s hand. James stared him down from the other end of the court like an elder disappointed with a petulant child.
Midway through the fourth period, Jayson Tatum finished what Rozier couldn’t in the third period. He drove into the lane after getting the pass near the top of the key. Tatum jumped near the dotted line, cocked the ball back and hammered home a dunk as James tried to contest. Tatum bumped into James after the dunk as Marcus Morris screamed in the King’s face.
Tatum hit a three-pointer after the dunk to give Boston a one-point lead. But that was the last Celtics rally. James continued to teach the young Celtics a thing or two about Game 7 basketball.
Green immediately hit a trey from the right corner to give the Cavaliers the lead back. James then found a rolling Thompson for a dunk. James baited Tatum into his fifth foul and then issued a three-quarters court pass to George Hill for a reverse layup.
All of this happened while the Celtics repeatedly missed their outside shots.
The dagger came in the final minute when James got a loose ball and engaged the reserve boosters to push the ball down court. Marcus Morris had to grab onto James’ shoulders to prevent him from getting a shot up. But James flipped up a shot as he was being tackled which Jaylen Brown goal tended.
James buried the bonus free throw to give the Cavaliers a 10-point lead in the final minute. An awestruck Boston crowd sat helplessly as the King marched through them en route to his eighth straight Finals appearance.
James played his 100th game of the season. He played all 48 minutes and submitted a near triple-double performance of 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. Green stepped into the injured Kevin Love’s starting role and added 19 points to support James.
James once again raised the Easter Conference Championship trophy high above his head. This could be one of the most impressive achievements in James’ career. He dragged a borderline Playoff team back to the Finals. He played all of Game 7 on the road without a fellow All-Star to back him up.
The King should be celebrating. But he’s not. He’s now resting up for another Finals run.
Photo from Getty Images