Cleveland led for most of the last 2 1/2 quarters, although the Celtics made things interesting in the fourth quarter when they cut the deficit to seven on multiple occasions. The Celtics won the bout 96-83, taking a 3-2 lead in the series.
But if Cleveland doesn't figure out how to counter Stevens's defensive adjustments and get some help for James, the Cavs will have nearly no chance of making the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year.
He scored 46 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a 109-99 win at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
"It (Game 5) could have been one of those nights for LeBron". "The first one, that was ridiculous".
"I thought our spacing was excellent", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of the early execution. He remains the best player in the game.
Who can forget what he's done in this postseason? Before his 45 in Game 7 against the Pacers, he was averaging 33.2 points in seventh games. "I don't put too much added pressure on myself". He played 19 games in those playoffs as the Bulls ran through everyone in 16-3 fashion. It's a Game 7.
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And he got another shot this series at the Celtics, a team against which perhaps more of his signature games - for both good and bad - have come than versus any other. He had a 44-point Game 4 in these conference finals at home.
If the Celtics bring anything less than their best performance of this series, none of that outside stuff will matter. Their only win away from TD Garden came in overtime. The Cavaliers made 15 turnovers compared to eight for the Celtics. We had to play Bron as many minutes as he had to. Horford surveyed the floor, his teammates moved without the ball, and the results were generally good. George Hill was tremendous.
A few post-ups did result in free throws, but the Celtics left some points at the line, shooting 11-for-20. He says he ate pork tacos from there before each of the home games in this series.
Hill is 32 and has played in 97 playoff games. He was traded by bottom-dwelling Sacramento to Cleveland on February 8, and his ticket to the championship round may depend on whether he can figure things out for himself in Boston.
"Larry asked me if I was I OK, so I'm guessing he was the culprit of it", James said. That's the best recovery that you can possibly get, is when you're sleeping. "I'm looking forward to Sunday".
So there you have it. The NBA is more geared towards the three-point shot now, and while James has not shot as well there as the past two postseasons, his 30.9% from deep means he can not be ignored there either.
Neither team is flawless.
James was getting rebounds, handing out assists, getting steals, and even had a chasedown block. "I have a passion for the game", James said.