Poor shooting, turnovers doom Celtics in Game 7 loss to Cavaliers

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For the better part of the last calendar year, the Cavs' franchise has experienced no shortage of ups and downs - slow climbs and faster falls - and yet James and Co. still find themselves in the same place they started this ride last June, en route to a fourth straight NBA Finals.

The 26-year-old was an All-Star during his first season with Boston, averaging 24.4 points and 5.1 assists in 60 games.

The Cavaliers will open the NBA Finals on Thursday on the road against either the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets. "The guys picked him up, so now he has another chance when we get to the finals to be ready". It was the Celtics first home loss in two months.

James, playing in his 100th game of the season - in the 15th year of his career - played all 48 minutes of Game 7, and finished with 35 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists.

Irving had not played in the Celtics' run to the Eastern Conference finals after undergoing a pair of knee surgeries in March and April to remove screws from his left patella that had become infected.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge explained Irving's surprising absence from the Celtics' 87-79 Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers, saying the injured guard missed the tilt because he had deviated septum surgery. That may come as soon as next season if James leaves the Eastern Conference.

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With the Celtics having to make some decisions on what guys they want to keep, they are going to end up losing some key guys, and an option would be to trade Rozier. With the rookie Tatum and second-year Jaylen Brown, Boston established itself as the team of the future in the East.

The Celtics had pushed their lead to as high as 12 early in the second quarter but endured one of their all-too-familiar scoring droughts.

But the present still belongs to James. James did not run back down the court, resting up while Green drew a foul at the other end and made one free throw to give the Cavaliers their biggest lead of the game.

With Love out, expect the Cavaliers to play with a smaller, yet quicker lineup. Tatum's 351 points this postseason was one short of Abdul-Jabbar's record of 352. As indicated by the fact that they only had five turnovers in the entire game, the Celtics simply could not find the bottom of the net from beyond the arc despite receiving a large number of good looks.

But ultimately Boston's bad 3-point shooting (7-of-39) and 29-percent second-half shooting did the team in.

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