Cavaliers vs. Celtics: LeBron wills his way into NBA Finals, Cavs go Green, Boston's bricks highlight Game 7
The Cavaliers are heading back to the NBA Finals, but is it LeBron's greatest accomplishment?
We sure took a roundabout route to get here, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season. Behind LeBron James, the Cavs pulled out an 87-79 Game 7 win on Sunday to hand the Boston Celtics their first home loss of the playoffs.
What else can you say? It's not even a question as to whether LeBron James will amaze when he's needed the most, it's just a matter of whether he can top his previous greatness. James had 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in Sunday's Game 7 win, snatching the hearts from the Celtics and their fans with step-back 3s, incredible blocks and back-breaking clutch baskets. He'll head to the NBA Finals for the eighth straight season, an unfathomable feat in the modern NBA.
Celtics go ice cold
Yeah, this probably wasn't the best time to have a horrible shooting night. Call it nerves, call it inexperience, call it just an off night, but the Celtics were 7 of 39 from behind the 3-point line on Sunday, a paltry 17.9 percent. Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart combined to go 3 of 26 by themselves. Boston struggled to score down the stretch, and the ice-cold shooting was a big reason why.
If someone told you before the season started that Jeff Green would be starting at power forward for the Cavs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, you probably would have thought Cleveland was in serious trouble. Quite the contrary, Green was the biggest difference-maker not named LeBron James on Sunday. Often considered a career underachiever, Green showed up big in the place of the injured Kevin Love, scoring 19 points and pulling down eight rebounds. His 3-pointer with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter gave Cleveland the lead it would never relinquish.
Wait till next year
The Celtics are undoubtedly disappointed, but the confidence they'll gain from a playoff run like this is incalculable. Young players like Jayson Tatum, Brown, Rozier and Smart helped carry this team to within one game of the NBA Finals. Al Horford had the best postseason of his career. Marcus Morris became a reliable reserve on both ends of the court. And they'll get Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back next season. Barring injuries or other unforeseen circumstances, the Celtics will enter next season as the favorite to win the Eastern Conference.
LeBron's greatest accomplishment?
Given the turmoil within the team, the roster turnover at the trade deadline and the inconsistent play all season long, some are saying that getting the 2018 Cavs to the NBA Finals is the greatest accomplishment of LeBron's storied career. Bringing his team back from 3-1 to beat the Warriors in 2016 certainly has an argument, but you can't deny that what LeBron has done this postseason, at the age of 33 and playing the minutes that he has, is truly remarkable. The only thing he can do to exceed it is go ahead and win another championship against the Warriors or Rockets in a couple weeks.
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