LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers have eliminated Aron Baynes’ Boston Celtics, advancing to the NBA Finals series.
The Cavs won 87-79 in Boston on Sunday to claim the eastern conference finals series 4-3 and move on to face the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets for the title.
It was another epic performance from James, who has carried the inexperienced, undermanned Cavaliers to victory throughout the playoffs.
James, who has battled fatigue in the series, played 47 of a possible 48 minutes and ended the game with 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.
“I’m trying to squeeze this orange until there is no juice left,” an emotional James said.
LeBron’s epic block and stare down. Pic: ESPN
The win continues James’ domination of the eastern conference, with the perennial All-Star taking the Cavs or the Miami Heat to the finals as the east champions for eight consecutive years.
James and Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum traded baskets in the final minutes.
Tatum, after dunking on James, then taunted the four-time NBA MVP, but it was James who found a new gear down the stretch, throwing assists and burying match-winning baskets.
Australian centre Baynes, with three points and five rebounds, was strong and dominated the smaller Cavs when he was on the court, but he spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench.
Tatum had 24 points.
The Warriors-Rockets western conference series will end with Monday’s game seven in Houston.