Well, here we are folks.
The two greatest words in sports: Game Seven. The Celtics versus the Cavaliers. LeBron James will get his shot at an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals as the two teams square off in Boston on Sunday, May 27th. The Celtics will do all they can to prevent a fifth straight loss at the hands of LeBron and reach the Finals for the first time since 2010.
Cleveland Takes Game 6
LeBron James put on a clinic in Game 6, dropping 46 points to go along with 11 rebounds and nine assists. The Cavaliers displayed a team effort in the victory, getting major contributions from the bench, which outscored Boston’s bench 36-23. For the first time in the series Cleveland looked like a deep team, with four players scoring in double figures. George hill scored 20, Jeff Green contributed 14, and Larry Nance added ten and seven rebounds.
The three major factors in the game was the rebounding discrepancy, missed free throws, and Al Horford being a no-show. Boston was out-rebounded in the game by 13, 44-31 and gave up a whopping 15 offensive boards. In Boston’s three wins in the series they have out-rebounded Cleveland, and in the three losses it was the other way around. This will be a major factor going into Game 7. The Celtics also missed nine free throws, going 11-20 from the charity stripe.
Al Horford will need to play significantly better in Game 7 if his team will have any hopes of a victory. He produced six points on eight shots, and often looked out of sorts on the floor. He focused more on the ball than his man, giving up several offensive rebounds that resulted in second chance opportunities for the Cavs.
The major storyline as Game 7 approaches is the announcement that Kevin Love will not play. After a collision with Jayson Tatum in the first quarter of Friday’s game, Love was sidelined with a concussion. Love is averaging 12.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in the series. He has been most impactful in Boston, averaging 17.6 points and 14.3 rebounds in the three match-ups.
Love has been the second leading scorer for Cleveland in these playoffs. His high IQ passing ability and double-double threat will surely be missed for the Cavs. He is also one of the most battle tested veterans on the roster as an NBA champion back in 2016.
Cavalier Role Players
With the All-Star big man out, Cleveland will need their role players to step up now more than ever. George Hill understands the circumstances and the need to fill a bigger role in Game 7.
“It’s gonna be tough,” Cavs point guard George Hill said. “No team has won there in these playoffs so far. We’ve got to try to be the first.”
LeBron James is taking a very level-headed mindset into the game. He said he doesn’t put “too much added pressure” on himself in Game 7’s.
“I just go out and play my game,” he said. “It’s just basketball for me. I know what I’m capable of doing.”
The Celtics have tied an NBA record as they have won ten straight games to start the postseason. The team has outscored their opponents by an average of 11.5 points per game thus far.
In spite of their recent success the team knows they are in for a battle.
“It’s about just winning the game now,” Marcus Smart said after Game 6. “It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty… You have to be ready for a dogfight.”
Terry Rozier is confident going into Game 7, but understands LeBron James is going to give the Celtics all they can handle.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, first and foremost. Obviously, we came up short tonight. But 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.”
Boston has fed off of the energy their fans bring to the Garden each game, and they expect more of the same in Game 7.
“It’s going to be electric,” Horford said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to Sunday.