For the fourth straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are headed to the NBA Finals.
With a 87-79 win in Sunday’s Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, Cleveland won the Eastern Conference Finals 4-3 and became the first team to beat the Celtics in Boston this postseason. The Cavs also won Game 7 in the same building where the four players they acquired at the deadline — Larry Nance Jr., George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood — made their debuts.
LeBron James, who is going to his eighth straight Finals, played all 48 minutes in Game 7, scored 35 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and dished out nine assists in the win. Jeff Green, starting in place of an injured Kevin Love, scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds in support of James. J.R. Smith added 12 points as well, including nine-points from three.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 24 points, including a dunk on James in the the fourth quarter.
The Cavs struggled on offense for much of this game, including a four-minute stretch in the second quarter where they went without a bucket and James didn’t pick up his first assist until 3:30 left in the second quarter. At multiple points, Cleveland trailed by double-digits and were down by four points at the half.
The Cavs, though, used a big third quarter to take a three-point lead into the fourth. James then took the Cavs home with a 12-point fourth quarter, capped off with an and-one with 1:04 to put the Cavs up 10 points and seal another trip the Finals.
Up next: The Cavs await the winner of Monday’s Game 7 between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors before the Finals start on Thursday. Cleveland will be the road to start the series regardless of who wins.