The Cavaliers will look to force a Game 7 on Friday night when they battle the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tipoff from The Q is at 8:30 p.m. (ET).
The Wine & Gold have their backs up against the wall following their, 96-83, Game 5 lost to the Celtics on Wednesday night. However, they have proven in the past that they excel in elimination games, going 5-2 since 2015 in such contests.
Helping their case on Friday will be the Wine & Gold playing in front of their home crowd at The Q, a place they have excelled during this postseason. The Cavaliers are 7-1 in The Land during the 2018 Playoffs, winning seven straight and outscoring opponents by an average of 12.3 points (109.0-96.7) over that stretch while shooting .491 from the field and .391 from beyond the arc.
Let’s not forget about the Cavs excellent defense. Through the first five contests of their ECF series, their defense has held the Celtics to a combined .424 shooting from the field (.327 3FG%). In Game 5, the Cavs held Boston to an opponent postseason low .365 (31-85) shooting from the field and gave up just 26 points in the paint. Cleveland also had seven blocks, led by Larry Nance Jr.’s playoff career-high four swats.
The Cleveland “D” has also been superb at home, and they will be looking to hold down the fort once again in Game 6. They have not allowed more than 100 points in five of their eight home games this postseason and have yet to let an opponent shoot at least .400 from beyond the arc at The Q.
Come Friday night, the Wine & Gold will look to improve on their all-time home record versus Boston in the playoffs (15-6 overall, 9-3 at The Q). They have won 10 of their last 13 home games against the Celtics dating back to the 2014-15 season (regular and postseason).
From a player perspective, LeBron James who has had plenty of success in elimination games and will look to lead the charge for the Cavs in Game 6. In 21 contests when facing elimination, LeBron James is averaging 33.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists. His scoring average of 33.5 points is the highest for elimination games in NBA playoff history (minimum five games).
Since the 2015 Playoffs, James is averaging 36.9 points (.524 FG%), 12.0 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 2.57 steals and 1.43 blocks in 44.1 minutes in Cleveland’s seven elimination games, while scoring at least 40 points in four of the seven contests.
In Game 5, LBJ posted his NBA-leading 11th double-double of the 2018 Playoffs with a game-high 26 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and one steal in 39 minutes during Game 5. His 11 double-doubles this postseason are tied for the third-most he’s ever recorded in a single playoffs (11 in 2012, 13 in 2016, 14 in 2015).
On the other side of the court, the Celtics were led by starters Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. Tatum was able to lead Boston in points with 24, while Horford doubled up with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Tatum and Horford were helped out by some solid bench play. In fact, two reserves named Marcus (Smart and Morris) notched 13 points apiece. Morris grabbed six rebounds while Smart tallied four boards and four dimes to go along with his hot scoring touch.
Where to Catch the Action
FOX Sports Ohio: Before and after all Cavs playoffs games, FOX Sports Ohio will provide pre- and postgame coverage hosted by Jeff Phelps and Campy Russell that will include reporting and analysis from Fred McLeod, Austin Carr and Allie Clifton, with guest appearances from former Cavs coach Mike Fratello.
Radio: WTAM 1100, 87.7 La Mega
As Wine & Gold fans get geared up for a Game 6 showdown at The Q, they can burn some time by checking out some individual milestones that could be broken over the next few games.
From a league perspective, LeBron James (2,062 REB) will pass Karl Malone (2,062 REB) for sole possession of the sixth most rebounds in NBA postseason history with just a single board in Game 6.
James (225 BLK) can also move into sole possession of 15th place in career playoff blocks with one more swat on Friday, passing Rasheed Wallace and Robert Horry (both w/225 BLK).
The sharpshooting Kyle Korver (233 3FGM) is also just four more three-pointers away from passing Jason Kidd (236 3FGM) for the 14th-most in NBA postseason play.
In terms of franchise history, Tristan Thompson (559 PTS, 206 FGM) will move past John ‘Hot Rod’ Williams (559 PTS, 206 FGM) for sole possession of ninth place on the Cavs all-time postseason scoring and field goals made lists with his next point and field goal.
Kevin Love (109 AST) needs just two more assists to pass Larry Nance Sr. (110 AST) for the eighth-most assists in franchise playoff history.
If the Cavaliers are victorious following Game 6 on Friday, then the two teams will meet back in Boston for a Game 7 showdown on Sunday, May 27. If necessary, tipoff from TD Garden will be at 8:30 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on ESPN.