LeBron James was the go-to guy yet again as the Cleveland Cavaliers stunned the Boston Celtics 87-79 on Sunday to reach the NBA Finals.
It will be an eighth straight NBA Finals appearance for King James himself, and a fourth straight showpiece for the 2016 champions.
James, on the court for all 48 minutes, scored 35 points while recording 15 rebounds and nine assists.
In the absence of Kevin Love, forward Jeff Green justified his starting nod as he recorded 19 points, 8 rebounds and 1 assist.
“This is a heck of an accomplishment by our ball club without the help of our star power forward,” James said of forward Love, who missed Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion in Game 6.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) May 28, 2018
Meanwhile, rookie Jayson Tatum scored 24 points to lead the Celtics, who lost at home for the first time in the playoffs.
The team’s other young stars – Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart – struggled to score on a night when the Celtics only hit 7 of 39 shots from 3-point range.
“The pain is part of the path and we’ve been really fortunate to continuously get better over the years but when it ends it’s painful but that is part of the path so we have to let it motivate us,” Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens said in a news conference following the game.
The NBA Finals will begin Thursday with the Cavs waiting to face the winner of Monday’s Game 7 matchup in the West between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.