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Lebron James on to Eighth Straight Finals as Boston’s Improbable Run Comes to a Close

Jeff Lembo, Staff Writer

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The T.D. Garden fell silent Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend as Celtics fans again bore witness to their beloved team defeated at the hands of LeBron James.

The Celtics were firmly in control of this whirlwind Eastern Conference Final series twice, holding series leads of 2-0 as well as 3-2, but failed to advance past the Cavaliers for the second straight year. Throughout Game 7 (and the series as a whole for that matter),

Boston struggled to contain and control LeBron. In the decisive Game 7, James played all 48 minutes, tallying a team-high 35 points on 12-24 shooting, along with 15 rebounds and 9 assists, falling one assist short of a triple double. He was aided by key role players Jeff Green and J.R. Smith, who posted 19 and 12 points respectively. Rookie Jayson Tatum led the Celtics in scoring (24 points) despite a sloppy 4-turnover game, while the Celtics shot just 7-39 from three point range, a 17.9% clip.

Boston did see plenty of positives in this series and the playoffs as a whole, however. The C’s managed to push the favored Cavs to 7 games, discarded the electrifying and young 76ers in 5 games, and posted a 10-1 home record during the playoffs. Also, young players like Jayson Tatum and “Scary Terry” Rozier emerged as exciting, reliable, and promising players for the Celtics.

Boston managed to post a 55-win season without sharpshooter Gordon Hayward and star point guard Kyrie Irving for large chunks of the year, including the entirety of the playoffs. The fact that the C’s managed to win 55 games speaks to their commitment and the strength of their coaching staff, showcased by head coach Brad Stevens’ nomination for Coach of the Year. With Hayward and Irving returning next season to aid the exciting young players as well as the coaching strength of Stevens, the Celtics look poised to become annual contenders for years to come.

However, Boston will just have to wait for that time to come, as LeBron James advances to his eighth straight NBA Finals. James will have to continue to be a scorer, playmaker, and vocal leader for this Cavaliers team. Even with help from his supporting cast of Green, Nance, Thompson, Smith, and Korver, Cleveland has their work cut out for them against the Western Conference’s best, teams that move the ball quickly and have high-powered offenses.

With a Finals win, James would solidify his case as the greatest of all time, having played all 82 games this season and at times single-handedly guiding the Cavaliers to victory. The NBA Finals begin on Thursday, May 31st as James seeks his fourth Finals victory to accompany his MVP-caliber regular season. Be sure to tune in to see how it all plays out!

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