Boston Celtics: 3 takeaways from Game 6 vs. Cavaliers

Via @CelticsLife

Delivering another performance for the ages, James scored 46 points and preserved his reign atop the Eastern Conference for at least one more game as the Cleveland Cavaliers shook off losing All-Star Kevin Love with a head injury and beat the Celtics 109-99 on Friday night to force a decisive climax to this back-and-forth series.

But that's just what the scoreboard said. But the Celtics aren't discouraged about another road loss (they're now 1-7 away from the Garden this postseason).

The Cavaliers said Love, who inadvertently bashed heads with Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum in the first quarter of Game 6, experienced concussion-like symptoms Saturday before the team's flight to Boston. A win tonight by Boston on the road sends them to the NBA Finals, and could send LeBron James to the Lakers next season as well.

The Celtics have never lost a series they've led 2-0 - making it 36 and 37 straight with this year's first two rounds.

There's no time to dwell on that, not with a Game 7 matchup on the horizon. "It's not going to be pretty", said Marcus Smart.

The 33-year-old added: "We've got to be poised, got to be able to handle a punch or two". "The lesson we can learn is that you have to go out there and play".

Via @celtics
Via @celtics

"You have to be ready for a dogfight", the Celtics guard added. "So, we've got to come out fighting and compete like hell". Marcus Morris has been tasked with being one of the primary defenders against LeBron James, knowing full well he - or any National Basketball Association player for that matter - can only hope to slow him down. In his career, he has averaged 34 per game in going 13-9 in elimination games.

LeBron James had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Kevin Love scored 14 for the Cavaliers, who are trying to reach the finals for the fourth consecutive season. "He felt great (yesterday) morning, felt great (Friday) night when he landed, felt great after the game".

At home in the playoffs, James is averaging 38 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists while shooting 59 percent from the field, 41 percent from 3-point range.

His first win in an elimination game came in a Game 6 against the Celtics in the second round 2008. There was some concern in Boston with the way that Horford played, but coach Brad Stevens thinks he actually played better than the stat line showed. "Our second quarter, guys that came off the bench - Jordan [Clarkson], Jeff [Green], Kyle [Korver] and Larry [Nance Jr] - just gave us a huge boost. You just have to have ideal intentions", Stevens said Saturday.

When the game victor at the buzzer in Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers fell through the net in the first round - a step-back 3-pointer that probably ended up tipping the series in the Cavs' favor - James jumped on the scorer's table to lead the celebration. Boston played well but LeBron at the height of his powers, along with some key contributions from the supporting cast, was just too much. After the game, Love admitted that it's a "toss-up" whether he'll be able to play in Game 7 or not, according to The Athletic's Jason Lloyd. It's a Game 7.

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