Cavaliers avoid elimination, force a Game 7 against the Celtics: 3 takeaways

LeBron James of the Cavaliers reacts in the second half against the Boston Celtics during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens dubbed Al Horford "outstanding" in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, this after Horford got questioned about his quiet stat line in a potential closeout game after Friday's 109-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Already laboring to reach his eighth straight NBA Finals with a supporting crew made mostly of cast-offs and throw-ins, James lost the only other All-Star on the roster on Saturday when Kevin Love was declared out for the series finale with a concussion.

It was the kind of game James has had his whole career in big moments, at least per usual. On Friday night, James had one of the best long-range shooting playoff games of his career, making 5 of 7 3-pointers on a night when the rest of his team went 4-for-16 on them.

James looked rattled midway through the fourth quarter when he clashed with teammate Nance Jr, who collided with James' knee. Meanwhile, the Celtics are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 home games, 17-8 ATS in their last 25 games against a team with a winning record and 35-17 ATS in their last 52 games overall.

Game 7 against the Cavaliers is Sunday at TD Garden in Boston, with the victor to face either the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

Overall, the 2018 ECF is up a very solid 21% over the 2017 series - and remember, this is in a time when the National Football League, the Olympics and nearly everyone else on TV with the exception of Game of Thrones and the Roseanne revival is seeing slumping numbers.

After the scare, James had 12 of his 46 points, which showed that he was still able to produce as his squad's go-to option despite the fact that he limped to the locker room after the game was over.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics missed on a chance to seal the deal in six games but they're returning back home where they've yet to lose in these playoffs.

James had to take over after Kevin Love went down early. "You just have to have ideal intentions", Stevens said Saturday. One thing is for certain: he will be rested.

For James, it's an opportunity to extend the season for his hometown team and put off another summer of questions about his future.

If daytime sports television is any indication, we're going to be having the LeBron vs. Michael Jordan debate almost every day for the next several years, if not several decades. "You got to be able to get down and get dirty".

He's now been ruled out for Game 7 on Sunday night.

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