"He's unbelievable", said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "Kevin wanted to play, to be in a Game 7 situation like this in the Eastern Conference finals, being an All-Star, being our second-best player, and he just wasn't able to go". And that glowing future is highlighted by the postseason play of rookie Jayson Tatum.
James, who entered with an NBA-record Game 7 average of 34.9 points, improved to 6-2 lifetime in Game 7s. Boston was 7-for-39 from three-point range, with Rozier missing all 10 of his attempts.
During the regular season, Tatum put up 13.9 points, five rebounds and one assist per game for the Celtics. The difference makers for the Cavs were probably the performances of LeBron James and Jeff Green. He even tweeted at him as a kid and begged him for a follow. Through it all, the Cavs still had LeBronJames and he kept the boat afloat. It started with the trade of Kyrie Irving. He also closed his series out with a massive dunk over King James, and with a little post-dunk bump, too.
"Just in the moment", he said. A number of players made names for themselves along their path.
And James, 33, hasn't missed a game this season - 100 straight.
"He's had a lot of gaudy games, but I just think Game 7, in Boston, all the circumstances that surround Boston, the history behind Boston, playing a team that's very well-coached, a good, young team that's undefeated in the playoffs at home", Lue said, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
He continued: "But when you talk about just a basketball player, a complete basketball player, LeBron James is a much better basketball player than Michael Jordan". "He's built for success on and off the floor". But it wasn't enough as Bostonstruggled down the stretch and fell 87-79. The crew looks to the bright future for the Celtics and considers the changes that could come in Boston.
Still, he says the Cavs are 12-point underdogs in the first game. "I meant no disrespect by it", Tatum told reporters.
"So I felt like the odds were against us from the summer", James continued. James said Friday night after his seventh 40-point game in 17 outings in this postseason. No one in the league places more of an emphasis on taking care of their body than James (he reportedly spends more than $1 million a year on physical upkeep).
This is certainly not the end for these Celtics, however.