LeBron the Great Goes for Eight: Cavaliers Head to NBA Finals After Defeating Celtics in Game 7

BOSTON, MA – MAY 27: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball in the first half against the Boston Celtics during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

LeBron James and the Cavaliers are still the champs in the East.

James, playing in his 100th game in a row this season, pushed the Cavs to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals with 35 points in Cleveland’s 87-79 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

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James scored 46 in Game 6 on Friday at The Q to set up Sunday night’s showdown in Boston.

James joins Celtics greats Bill Russell, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and Frank Ramsey as the only NBA players to play in at least eight consecutive Finals.

James, at age 33, played all 48 minutes. He finished with 15 rebounds (a 2018 playoff season high) and nine assists, with two blocks, seven turnovers and a 12-of-24 shooting night. He’s 6-2 all time in Game 7s, and has won six straight.

The Cavs won at TD Garden for the only time this series, becoming the fifth team in history to win its only game on the road in a series in Game 7. The Celtics lost for the only time at home this entire postseason; they were 10-0. This is also the first time Boston has ever blown a series in which it led 2-0 (the Celtics were 37-0).

Cleveland did it without Kevin Love, who missed the game with a concussion. Jeff Green, a former Celtic, started in his place and posted 19 points and eight rebounds — both 2018 playoff highs. JR Smith added 12 points and Tristan Thompson chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.

Rookie Jayson Tatum (his future is so bright) led the Celtics with 24 points. Al Horford scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half. Jaylen Brown added 13 points and Marcus Morris scored 14 off the bench.

The Cavs, who were ranked 29th in defense during the regular season, were brilliant at that end (79 points were easily the fewest they’ve allowed in the playoffs). They also benefited from poor Boston shooting. The Celtics shot .341 from the field and 7-of-39 from 3-point range.

The Celtics were to 24-8 all time in Game 7s — the best record in NBA history. They were also missing their two best players this series, as former Cavalier Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were out with season-ending injuries.

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SOURCE: Cleveland.com, Joe Vardon

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