CLEVELAND -- No one cancels trophy presentations like the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Between 2016 and 2017, the Cavs made the Golden State Warriors scrap four title celebrations. On Friday night there was a room ready for the Boston Celtics to accept the Eastern Conference title, and once again, the Cavs shut it down.
A 109-99 Game 6 victory made it six wins in the Cavs' past seven elimination games, and sets up LeBron James for a chance to go to his eighth consecutive Finals in Game 7 on Sunday in Boston. James, who has the highest scoring average in elimination games in NBA history at 34.1 points per game, has won his past five Game 7s, including the first round this season against the Indiana Pacers.
James added to his already historic postseason with a 46-point, 11-rebound, 9-assist outing Friday for his seventh 40-point game of the playoffs. It was the most he has scored in an elimination game and only three points shy of his playoff career high of 49. He played the game's first 35 minutes before resting, expending enormous energy to keep the Cavs alive.
He was especially aggressive in the first half, when he piled up 25 points to help Cleveland build a double-digit lead. Seventeen of those points came in the second quarter, when he made his first three 3-pointers of the game and attempted his first six free throws. James later finished the exquisite performance with back-to-back 3-pointers in a 40-second span late in the fourth quarter from his patented spot on the left wing to provide the cushion the Cavs needed to finish the job.
LeBron drills two step-back 3s over Tatum late
LeBron James takes Jayson Tatum one-on-one twice in a row late in Game 6.
The output wasn't much of a choice, though. The Cavs needed it to survive, but it's questionable if there will be lingering effects Sunday. James' endurance continues to be an X factor, and he dealt with a blow to his lower right leg when teammate Larry Nance fell into him.
But more concerning for the Cavs is the status of Kevin Love, who was knocked from the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for a concussion after colliding with Jayson Tatum. Love, who suffered a concussion and missed a game in the 2016 Finals and had another one in March, might miss Sunday's game if put into the league's concussion protocol.
Love's absence was mitigated by Jeff Green, who stepped in and provided badly needed production without Love. Green scored 14 points off the bench and made several crucial defensive plays while filling in at center.
Continuing the series' bizarre home/road differences, George Hill gave the Cavs an injection of playmaking. Hill is shooting just 31 percent and averaging 5.0 points in the three losses in Boston this series. Friday he scored 20 points, his most of the postseason, on 7-of-12 shooting. In the three games in Cleveland, Hill averaged 15.3 points on 53 percent shooting.
After being in a team-wide slump for the past three games, the Celtics had a much better overall offensive performance. Terry Rozier had his best game of the series with 28 points, including 6-of-10 on 3s, and Jaylen Brown put in 27, the Celtics' starting backcourt combining to shoot 21-of-34. Overall, the Celtics shot 51 percent from the field.
But they had no answer for James.