CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cavs return home to Quicken Loans Arena tonight for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals trailing 3-2 in the series to the Celtics after suffering a 96-83 rout on Wednesday night.
The Cavs were not very good in Game 5 on Wednesday. They hung around to give themselves a very outside chance of coming back late in the game, but never had enough shooting to get back into it. They were just 9-34 from three-point range, hoping to improve on that tonight when they return home. LeBron had 26 points and ten rebounds while Kevin Love had 14 points and seven boards to lead the Cavs statistically.
They now return home where, in this series, the home team has won every game. The Celtics have only won a single game in the 2018 playoffs away from Boston while continuing to go undefeated on their home floor. To win this series, the Cavs are going to have to win in Boston, but that’s the least of their worries as they obviously have to take care of business tonight in Cleveland before they worry about any possible Game 7.
The good news is that the Cavs have one of the best elimination game players of all-time on their sideline. He averages better than 35 points in such games, the highest of any player all-time. Since 2012, LeBron has played 13 elimination games. He is 10-3 in those games and has scored more than 30 points in 12 of them. LeBron knows what it takes to win this game tonight. The question is, can the players around him do just enough for LeBron to avoid elimination?
Generally speaking in these playoffs, the role players for the Cavs such as Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, and Jordan Clarkson have played much better at home. They need those key players to knock down timely shots and make plays when needed for the Cavs to get a chance at a Game 7. They also need Kevin Love to play like the second-best player on the team. Love has been inconsistent with doing that during these playoffs.
Tonight could perhaps be LeBron James’ final game in Cleveland, win or lose. That will be somewhere in the back of everyone’s minds as we watch this game tonight. There’s been so much pressure on The King during these playoffs with this version of the Cavs. We have been spoiled with his greatness ever since he’s been in Cleveland, and it’s almost absurd to ask him to do more. Can he deliver one more king-like performance to extend the Cavs season?
Game 6 will tip-off tonight at 8:30pm ET and will be broadcast on ESPN and Fox Sports Ohio.
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