Players come to blows as Celtics take series lead

By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent
Players come to blows as Celtics take series lead

Aron Baynes and his Boston Celtics are just one win away from eliminating the Cleveland Cavaliers from the NBA Playoffs and booking a place in the championship series.

The Celtics, with Queenslander Baynes elevated to the starting line-up, won 96-83 in Boston on Wednesday to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals.

Baynes rewarded Boston coach Brad Stevens' decision to start him, with the big Queenslander contributing six points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

In one inspirational play in the opening minutes, Baynes blocked Cavs' point guard George Hill and then ran the full length of the court and scored with a put back.

The play helped the Celtics jump to a 32-19 first-quarter lead that the Cavs failed to recover from.

The players fire up. Pic: Getty

Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum led the team with 24 points.

The usually invincible James appeared exhausted in the second half after carrying his squad through the playoffs.

James had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists but received little support from his other starters, with JR Smith, Tristan Thompson and Hill combining for just 11 points.

The home team has won each of the five games.

Game six is in Cleveland on Friday.

If the Cavaliers win game six the series will be decided with a game seven on Sunday.