It all comes down to one game.
The two greatest words in sports: Game 7.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics will play Game 7 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night in what has been a back and forth series through the six games.
The home team has won each game of the series and each game hasn’t been close despite the margin of victory in Games 4 & 6 were 9 and 10 respectively.
On the Celtics side, it’s been quite the impressive for them led by Coach Stevens despite not having two All-Stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The blend of youth and veterans has paid off and has put the second seed in the East one win shy of reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
As for the Cavaliers, they’ve led by Lebron James who has been nothing short of dominating in this series with 33.3 points, 8 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1 block per game once again leading Cleveland to their potential fourth straight Eastern Conference Championship and NBA Finals appearance and what could be James’ eighth straight conference title and NBA Finals appearance.
The role players for the Cavaliers have been up and down this series. While they’ve shown up in the three games at home, on the road at TD Garden has been a completely different story but that’s how it’s been for the Celtics as well when they play at Quicken Loans Arena.
Kevin Love will be out for Game 7 after suffering a concussion during Friday night’s Game 6 after taking a unintentional shoulder from Jayson Tatum to the jaw. This is the third concussion Love has suffered with the Cavaliers and the second this season.
In Game 6 with Love going out early, the role players did their part to help Lebron who scored 46 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists. George Hill scored 20, Jeff Green and Larry Nance combined for 24 points off the bench and Kyle Korver brought it on the defensive side with two blocks and a steal.
They’re going to have to bring it again for Game 7 especially with Love being out. James needs to get his supporting cast involved early and often because he can not do it on his own with such a talented Celtics team and the loud crowd at TD Garden.
Jeff Green will be starting in place of Kevin Love, a move I don’t agree with because during the postseason when Green and Thompson are on the floor together, it hasn’t been successful for the Cavaliers.
One guy that absolutely needs to have a huge game is J.R. Smith. Smith has struggled this series shooting 23% from the field (27% from three point distance) and averaging 5.2 points per game. For someone who is playing 30 minutes a night and making $13.7 million, Smith needs to step up and play a bigger role for the Cavs in order to win.
One guy the Cavs need to focus on is Celtics guard Marcus Smart. While he’s struggled shooting the ball this series, his defense has been a big part to the Celtics success. He’s averaging 3.3 rebounds and 1.83 steals per game. He’s also passed the ball well averaging 6.3 assists per game and no doubt he brings a ton of energy off the bench and will fire the Boston fans up.
This should be a very interesting and exciting Game 7 and I could honestly see it going either way.
The Celtics haven’t lost a home game yet during the postseason and turn it up a notch on their home floor especially on the defensive side.
But it’s Game 7 and I’m not betting against Lebron James when it’s Game 7
I fully expect the Cavs to upset the Celtics in Boston and will advance to their fourth straight NBA Finals.