Down three entering the fourth quarter, after leading by as many as 12 early, a Tatum basket, eight-second violation on James and Horford three-point play put Boston up 61-59 with 11:23 to play. But James dropped 46 points on Friday and followed it up with an equally impressive performance on Sunday.
James became the 13th athlete in the four major US professional sports - the NBA, NHL, MLB and National Football League - to make it to eight straight championship series, joining seven Montreal Canadiens players and five former Celtics, according to data compiled by ESPN Stats & Information. As pointed out on the broadcast, injured guard Kyrie Irving was not present on the bench to support his team in their biggest game of the year.
In the first close game of the series - and the lowest-scoring - James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
And James is 4-for-4 in trips to The NBA Finals since returning to the Cavs in the summer of 2014. No matter whether we are picked to win or not, we have a great game plan. But whatever the next chapter brings, James will have owned the Celtics in a fashion few other players in history ever did. "This is Game 7". I just go out and play my game.
With six minutes left on the clock, the Celtics were ahead at 72-71 - but the Cavs scored 15 of the next 17 points to pull ahead and secure the win.
LeBron James prepares for most challenging Game 7 National Basketball Association
"It was asked of me tonight to play the whole game, and I just tried to figure out how I could get through it".
As it turns out, while James alone has more rings than 22 other active teams, he already holds the record for the third-most Finals losses in National Basketball Association history.
But ultimately Boston's bad 3-point shooting (7-of-39) and 29-percent second-half shooting did the team in.
"But what I've been telling the guys throughout the playoffs, as a team we are learning". The fact that Kevin Love suffered a concussion in Game 6 and therefore was held out of Game 7 made the situation even more concerning.
To put that into perspective, Rozier, Brown and Marcus Smart combined for just 21 points while shooting 8-for-42 from the field, including just 3-of-26 from three-point range.
"It's one of those things where I really have to tip my hat (to James)", Celtics All-Star Al Horford said.
After looking like a man in a parking lot who couldn't find his auto keys in the first half - J.R. Smith put his game into overdrive.
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