I'd be willing to bet that this Cleveland team finishes ten games under.500 without LeBron James on the roster.
Boston had a chance to take the Eastern Conference crown from James on Friday night, but the star forward got just enough help from his supporting cast to hold off a late Celtics rally before scoring 14 fourth-quarter points to throw the knockout punch.
"You can't live or die with every loss or win", Stevens said.
Cleveland led by as many as 16 in the third quarter, but the advantage was down to seven with 2:47 to play when James unleased back-to-back three-pointers and converted a layup to push the Cavs lead back to 109-96.
"At one point we had two opportunities to cut it to single digits and missed some really good looks, two three-pointers". The Celtics played bad shooting just 36.5% from the field.
It was his seventh 40-point performance of the 2018 playoffs, tying Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan (1989) for second-most 40-point games in a single post-season behind the eight of Jerry West in 1965.
"Offensively, we just couldn't make shots", said Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue. They are without their two centerpiece players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
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"I had my moments, but I think everybody at this point is exhausted, worn down whatever the case may be", he said.
If the first five games of the Eastern Conference Finals are any indication, the Game 6 result isn't hard to predict. But as Yahoo's Dan Devine points out, he also committed six turnovers and looked flat-out exhausted at some points during the game. I think Jayson was ready to deal with everything that comes with this because of who he is and his family and all his coaches before, because he's a very emotionally steady, smart player that was going to perform at a high level at his age. The game showed why no one should be holding out hope for a Cavs comeback. "Guys are going to be physical, especially with me being the young guy".
Kevin Love was the only other Cavaliers player who scored in double figures in Game 5.
Celtics: Own a 37-0 record when leading a series 2-0. "I think everybody at this point is exhausted, worn down or whatever the case may be".
In Game 4 of the Cleveland series, Tatum moved ahead of Jerry West (275 points) on the rookie postseason-points list.
"The objective for that change was we're going to have to play big some", Brad Stevens told reporters after the game.