LeBron James and the magic, wonder and mystery of Game 7

LeBron James and the magic, wonder and mystery of Game 7

The Cavs will play the victor of the Western Conference Finals series between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors when the NBA Finals begin on Friday. James will be without his All-Star teammate, as he was for all but five minutes of Game 6, to try to win a Game 7 on the road - one of the toughest things in the game.

It was the fifth time in James' postseason career that he played all 48 minutes in what was his 235th playoff game.

"He's had a lot of gaudy games, but I just think Game 7, in Boston, all the circumstances that surround come here in a hostile environment, Game 7, Eastern Conference finals", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. As they strolled in, owner Dan Gilbert greeted the players, and while most got daps and hugs, LeBron strode past Gilbert pretty quickly with hardly a handshake as he made his way to the podium.

It's worth repeating one final time: the Celtics had no business lasting this long, and even after blowing a 12-point lead in Game 7, there's no shame in falling short.

But the Celtics couldn't get 3-pointers to fall, and Cleveland slowly chipped their way back into it. James got 3-pointers from J.R. Smith and Jeff Green, and by the time halftime rolled around, Boston's lead was down to 43-39.

Getty LeBron James can earn his eighth straight trip to the Finals with a win tonight.

"They're going to be a good team for many years", said Cavs guard George Hill.

"Best player in the game", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Friday's game. He exhausted late in Game 5, when the Celtics won their 10th straight at home this postseason. "The guys picked him up, so now he has another chance when we get to the finals to be ready".

Before half-time, Boston had been in the driving seat, and were ahead by 10 points early in the second quarter thanks to impressive performances by Al Horford and Jayson Tatum. With 3:20 remaining, he smacked away a chase-down block against Rozier that seemed to irreversibly start the Celtics sliding toward elimination, as the Cavaliers claimed a 59-56 lead after three. To have the opportunity, playing a Game 7, go to the Finals in the Garden. But they cashed in on their brilliant defensive effort on Sunday - holding the Celtics to 34 percent shooting, including 17 percent from beyond the arc. After slowly getting back on his feet, James shook hands with a fan he knocked over.

James has said in the past he plans to retire a Cavalier but this is his second stint in Cleveland after he left once before for Miami in 2010. As a group, we really fought hard, we did everything we could.

We will have much more coming tonight.