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Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics Game 7 preview

This one feels important, doesn’t it?

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Six Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Cavaliers have battled back from an 0-2 deficit to force a Game 7 in Boston. Boston, if you can believe it, is really good when they play in Boston. The Cavaliers will have to hand them their first loss at home over the course of the entire playoffs if they want to advance to the Finals.

So, the stakes are pretty low.

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics, Game 7

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Quicken Loans Arena — Cleveland, Ohio

Enemy Blog: CelticsBlog


Online: WatchESPN

Cavs injuries: Kevin Love (OUT — concussion-like symptoms)

Celtics injuries: Kyrie Irving (OUT — knee surgery), Gordon Hayward, (OUT — ankle fracture), Shane Larkin (OUT — shoulder), Daniel Theis (OUT — knee)

Three keys to the game

  • Were the Cavaliers forced to give their last gasp in Game 6? With Kevin Love out due to a head injury early, the Cavs were pushed to the limit in trying to extend the series at home. With one day off between games and consistent travel between Boston and Cleveland, do the older Cavaliers have the legs to win one more game?
  • Love’s injury gives the Cavaliers an excuse if they lose this game, but it’s not a good one. Boston’s missing its two best players and hasn’t skipped a beat. They may have young talent, but they’re young - the Cavaliers have LeBron James and championship experience. The Celtics are right to be favored in this game, but it would be nothing less than an organizational failure if this team cannot make it to the NBA Finals. LeBron will know that.
  • How much can George Hill give? I’ve keyed on him in the past three previews I’ve written because he’s just that important. He scored 20 points on the Celtics in Game 6, getting downhill, finishing at the rim, and drawing fouls. He didn’t even hit a three and it didn’t matter because he was so aggressive going to the cup. He’s been a disaster on the road in this series, and the Cavaliers just can’t afford that anymore.

Key Matchup

LeBron James vs. Marcus Morris/Marcus Smart/Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum/etc. As much as Cavs fans would love for the role players to step up in a major way in this game, there’s just almost zero evidence that they’re capable of doing so in Boston right now. This will be LeBron’s game to win. After playing 46 minutes in Game 6, does he have the gas?

Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction

Boy, I don’t know. And you can’t make me pick.