Super 8: LeBron muscles his way back to the Finals

Arnold Nichols
May 29, 2018

And so James embraced the youngster who had just played his guts out in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the tune of 24 points and one very loud dunk in James' face, almost single-handedly keeping the Celtics alive as teammates wilted under the glare and misfired like so many jammed rifles.

Dating to last summer - when successful general manager David Griffin departed, Kyrie Irving demanded a trade and the Cavs did a deal that returned a future draft pick and an injured replacement in Isaiah Thomas - it has been one long struggle for James to earn the right to play in his eighth consecutive Finals.

"You know, it was a very disappointing loss yesterday".

"This was the only team that I've been around at this level where I thought that we might shoot 36 percent and win the game", Stevens said.

"Kyrie had a deviated septum, had some surgery on that, and so I don't think he wanted to be seen", said Ainge, who turned playful while noting, "He's a really good-looking guy".

With that being said, there's no reason the Celtics can't begin their dominance of the East this year.

Just like their opening-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics have won three at home and lost three on the road in this series.


Ainge scoffed when told how some fans have wondered whether the Celtics should move one of their All-Stars after all the success they enjoyed without them. The Rockets host the seventh game of the West final on Monday night. "We have a really good group of guys".

The only way it would appear Cleveland would have a chance would be if James can summon his highest level, the kind that perhaps no other player can reach - and then do it three more times.

The Celtics had been a spotless 10-0 this postseason at TD Garden before James & Co. delivered a lone season-ending blemish. "We were able to win some games and we were able to fight through some tough battles, but we're much, much better with Kyrie and Gordon". "It's something that you wish you had when you're done playing, but more than that, it's just basketball for me. I think they're going to come back in great condition and great shape next year".

Love is averaging 13.9 points and 10.0 rebounds this postseason.

"We said we want to do this for Kevin", Lue said. "I know we'll be better from this".

Jayson Tatum paced the Celtic attack with 24 points as Boston suffered their only loss in 11 playoff home games.

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