Confetti falls at start of Game 7 vs. Cavs

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For the nth time, LeBron James carried the Cleveland Cavaliers in a Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals win over the young but tenacious Boston Celtics, 87-79.

The NBA will be handing out a silver trophy Sunday night at TD Garden, not the gold; James has had his hands on eight of those already.

The Celtics have got this far without the use of Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward, arguably their two best players.

James played all 48 minutes of the game, scoring 35 points while recording 15 rebounds and nine assists.

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LeBron James is very much still in the playoffs-but that won't stop National Basketball Association fans from partaking in one of our favorite pastimes: speculating about where he'll play next. "I'm trying to get the most out of this season".

The Cavs started 29 different lineups in the regular season and might now start their fifth different playoff lineup Sunday with Love out.

He is now the first player in 50 long years to make 8 straight Finals and the first-ever who is not a Boston Celtic, following this list of legends: Bill Russell (10), Tom Heinsohn (9), Sam Jones (9), K.C. Jones (8) and Frank Ramsey (8). He exhausted late in Game 5, when the Celtics won their 10th straight at home this postseason. And he only rested for 3 minutes the entire game.

Cleveland became the fifth team in league history to reach the Finals as a fourth (or lower) seed. In Cleveland's Game 7 win over Indiana, James went off for 45 points - the same amount he scored in a Game 7 here in Boston back in 2008. That didn't happen, and he probably didn't improve his chances by posterizing James in the fourth quarter of Game 7.

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Celtics: Paul Pierce, whose number was retired by the Celtics this season, cheered the team on from courtside.

Before Friday night's game, Cleveland coach Ty Lue told his team (and others), "Three, three, three", meaning their season had either three hours, three days or three weeks remaining.

James now has won six straight Game 7s. "And those will be some fun practices, I'm sure", he added. "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". James didn't look very pleased (and borderline shocked) with the bump, but Tatum said he meant no disrespect by it after the game.

"It was asked of me tonight to play the whole game", he said. "I know what I'm capable of doing, and I'm going to trust everything I put into it".

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