LeBron scores 46 as Cavs force Game 7 in Bos­ton

Stabroek News Sunday - - SUNDAY SPORT -

(Reuters) LeBron James’ 46 points, 11 re­bounds and nine as­sists Fri­day night car­ried the Cleve­land Cava­liers to a 109-99 win over the Bos­ton Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleve­land, ty­ing the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals at 3-3.

Game 7 of the se­ries is tonight in Bos­ton, with the win­ner meet­ing ei­ther Hous­ton or Golden State in the NBA Fi­nals.

“Feels good just to be able to play for another game,” James said after the game. “I’ve al­ways said Game 7 is the best two hours in sports, so let’s go have fun with it.”

Ge­orge Hill en­joyed his best game of the se­ries for the Cava­liers with 20 points, while re­serve Jeff Green chipped in 14 and Larry Nance Jr. hit for 10 points. They helped make up for the loss of for­ward Kevin Love, who lasted five min­utes be­fore leav­ing with a pos­si­ble con­cus­sion after a col­li­sion with Celtics rookie Jayson Ta­tum.

Terry Rozier pumped in six 3-point­ers and led Bos­ton with 28 points while Jaylen Brown gunned in 27. Ta­tum fin­ished with 15 but was largely a non-en­tity dur­ing the first half. Re­serves Mar­cus Mor­ris and Mar­cus Smart scored 10 points each.

“This troupe’s re­silient,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told re­porters postgame. “We’ll be ready to go on Sun­day.”

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. But James drilled back-to-back 3point­ers in a 43-sec­ond span to up the lead to 107-96 and quash re­main­ing sus­pense.

“Does that ever come into our minds? Yeah, like ev­ery time we’re out there,” Stevens said of James’ great­ness. “Best player in the game, spe­cial night tonight. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

The Cava­liers also dom­i­nated the glass and reaped the ben­e­fits at the foul line. Cleve­land fin­ished with a 44-31 ad­van­tage in re­bound­ing, in­clud­ing 15-5 on the of­fen­sive boards, and went 18-of-22 at the stripe. Bos­ton was a poor 11-of-20 at the line.

The Celtics ac­tu­ally got off to a good start, un­like one-sided Game 3 and 4 losses in Cleve­land. Brown lit it up with 15 first-quar­ter points, con­vert­ing a pullup jumper with 8.3 sec­onds re­main­ing that put Bos­ton ahead 25-20.

Things turned for good in the sec­ond quar­ter, when the Celtics could only man­age 18 points. James’ floater with 21.8 sec­onds re­main­ing wrapped up a 25-point half and helped usher the Cava­liers into the locker room with a 54-43 ad­van­tage.

“Been for­tu­nate enough to play some good bas­ket­ball through my ca­reer,” James said. “Hope­fully, I’ll get my­self in a po­si­tion to play great once again on Sun­day.”

LeBron James

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