A stand-out performance from LeBron James has carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 109-99 win over the Boston Celtics and forced a seventh-game decider in the NBA eastern conference finals.
James’ 46 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists played a key role in the game six win as Cleveland levelled the series 3-3.
Game seven is in Boston on Sunday, with the winner meeting either Houston or Golden State in the finals.
The Rockets take a 3-2 series lead into game six of the western conference finals in Oakland.
George Hill enjoyed his best game of the series for the Cavaliers with 20 points, while reserve Jeff Green chipped in 14 and Larry Nance hit for 10 points. They helped make up for the loss of forward Kevin Love, who lasted five minutes before leaving with a possible concussion after a collision with Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum.
Terry Rozier pumped in six three-pointers and led Boston with 28 points while Jaylen Brown gunned in 27. Tatum finished with 15 but was largely a nonentity during the first half. Reserves Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart scored 10 points each.
Cleveland led for most of the last two quarters, although the Celtics made things interesting in the fourth quarter when they cut the deficit to seven on multiple occasions. But James drilled back-to-back three-pointers in a 43-second span to up the lead to 107-96 and quash remaining suspense.
The Cavaliers also dominated the glass and reaped the benefits of the foul line. Cleveland finished with a 44-31 advantage in rebounding, including 15-5 on the offensive boards, and went 18-of-22 at the stripe while Boston were a poor 11-of-20 at the line.