CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James scored 46 points and preserved his reign atop the Eastern Conference for at least one more game as the Cleveland Cavaliers shook off losing All-Star Kevin Love with a head injury and beat the Boston Celtics 109-99 on Friday night to force a Game 7.
James, playing in perhaps his final game for the Cavs in Cleveland, delivered another sensational performance – he added 11 rebounds and nine assists while playing all but two minutes – to avoid elimination and delay any decisions about his future.
Article continues below ...
The king is not dead, and he still has a chance to make his eighth straight NBA Finals.
This back-and-forth series, in which home court has meant everything, will have a climatic conclusion Sunday at TD Center, where the Celtics are 10-0 this postseason.
George Hill added 20 points, and Jeff Green 14 for the Cavs. They won their eighth straight at home and will play their second Game 7 of these playoffs.
Paul was injured in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s victory that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.
”I hate it for him, above all,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”He’s practically won us the last two games. But great opportunity for other guys and we have plenty to choose from and we’ll be ready.”
Eric Gordon, the star of Game 5, will start in Paul’s place Saturday night. He started 30 games this season while Paul and James Harden dealt with injuries.
”It will not change anything that we do or how we do it,” D’Antoni said.
PHOENIX (AP) – Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said the ”overwhelming likelihood” is that the team will keep its No. 1 overall pick and not trade it away.
McDonough made the comment after the first of what will be many pre-draft workouts of players on the Suns’ practice court.
The leading candidates for that No. 1 almost certainly will be worked out privately, with the exception of Luka Doncic, the European sensation who still is playing in Spain.
”Obviously the agents have a lot of say,” McDonough said. ”They have a strong voice in the process. They’re worried about injuries, which we understand is part of it. So we’d love them to come in and compete against the other top guys at their position. I think for the guys in the mix at No. 1 that’s going to be tough for us to put together.”
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) – Disgruntled fans broke into a Brazil training session for the World Cup on Friday and some booed the national team over a lack of contact with local supporters. A few dozen even mocked chanted ”It was 7-1! It was 7-1!” in a reference to the team’s humiliation against Germany four years ago.
The open training in Teresopolis was the only chance local fans had to be with Brazil players since the beginning of preparations Monday. Brazil gave up on its traditional pre-World Cup friendly on home soil before the tournament and will only play again June 3 in Liverpool against Croatia.
In the first and only meeting with players before they travel to the tournament in Russia, about 200 people were initially allowed in the Granja Comary training ground, but many others broke into the venue after being stopped by police for hours at the gates. No one was injured, but the frustration was evident.
BOSTON (AP) – Hanley Ramirez has been designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox, who are responsible for the $15.25 million remaining on his contract but avoided him triggering a $22 million salary for 2019.
Boston made the move Friday to clear a roster spot for All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was activated from the disabled list and after recovering from knee surgery.
”We’ve been looking at making a move because we knew that this day with Dustin would come,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Friday prior to a game against Atlanta. ”We talked about all different types of possibilities.”
Dombrowski said the final call was his to make, but credited manager Alex Cora with the idea, saying the first-year manager told him he wanted to get Mitch Moreland more regular time in the lineup. Dombrowski said the move was less about saving on Ramirez’s salary next year than it was about improving this year’s team.