What we learned vs. Boston Celtics Game 5

Doug Mendoza
May 26, 2018

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was among those who thought James was tired in Game 5, but believes James will be ready Friday night.

In January, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James teased that there might be a retro shoe dropping that went back all the way to the Cavs forward's roots - St. Vincent-St.

Beaten for the third time in Boston in these home-sweet-home Eastern Conference finals, Cleveland will face its second elimination game of the postseason on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

An energized Cleveland team then twice whittled the deficit to eight points before the Celtics reasserted themselves to lead 53-42 at half-time. "But I think just by doing that, it was a change that worked in our favor".

But if the 4-time MVP can't extend his Finals run to an eighth straight appearance this postseason, any frustration on James' end won't stem from the streak itself. Cleveland turned the ball over 15 times during the game and shot just 9-for-34 from downtown.

On Friday, James will take the floor with his future hanging in the air.

No one else on the Cavaliers is creating in a way that the Celtics should fear, but you better believe that James is going to turn this team around in game six and probably put together one of his most impressive performances of these playoffs. The Celtics know that James is going to be better, and they know he will get more players involved at home.

"His talent, his composure, where he's come from has allowed him to be successful". (Tatum) was great tonight in the first quarter.

"It's not even something new at this point".

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"The sky's the limit" for Tatum, Brown said. However, Tatum's role has expanded greatly in the playoffs and, while some of that is due to the absence of Irving (and Gordon Hayward), the first-year standout has taken things in stride and performed at a remarkably high level for his age. So it's a blessing to be here. "I just wanted to study him". Whether they make it or not, make it as hard as possible on them. "I didn't mention the fatigue, either".

Lue inexplicably left Kyle Korver off the floor for long stretches and following the game he curiously explained that Stevens' rotation "kind of threw us for a loop". "Obviously, everybody knows the games are coming up pretty quick".

Now Stevens needs his team to show that same tenacity on the road, where Boston is just 1-6. "I definitely can't say it on camera", Morris told reporters. Everybody else is exhausted.

"We've got to be focused, composed and play with a lot of poise and we'll be fine", he said, clearly up for the challenge. I saw Ben Simmons against the Celtics, and it looked like moment was too big for him.

Boston is one win away from its first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, when it lost to the rival Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. Not for Boston Celtics fans, however.

One sign of the rookie's need to adapt has come at the 3-point line, where he's attempted, and missed, only one trey in each of the last two games against Cleveland.

For one night, the Celtics will simply revel in sitting on the cusp of an improbable Finals trip. Well, uncreativity plus fatigue, plus a strong Celtics team, plus playing against said team in Boston.

"I was able to go [to the Finals] four straight [times in Miami], and three straight since I've been back here", James added.

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