CLEVELAND – The Boston Celtics, frustrated in their first attempt to close the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 on Friday, return to Boston confident of their chances in a Game 7 winner, but expect a battle in TD Garden.
"It's just about winning the game now," said Marcus Smart after the Cavaliers emerged with a 109-99 win at Quicken Loans Arena. "It's not going to be pretty, you should be able to go down and get dirty, you can not go out and try to look pretty, you should be ready for a dog fight."
"We have to be ready. to get out with a bloody nose, we have to be ready to go out with a bloody mouth, we have to go out ready to fight. "
LeBron James scored 46 points and He kept his reign in the Eastern Conference for at least one more game when the Cavaliers ran out of losing to Kevin Love for a head injury and beat the Celtics 109-99 on Friday night to force the seventh game.
] LeBron James finished with 46 points, 11 rebounds and 9 badists to cancel the Boston trophy plans and extend the Cavaliers season.
The Cavaliers lost Kevin Love after the All-Star forward hit the rookie of the Jayson Tatum Celtics in Game 6, with sources that told ESPN that Love should rest a night before being evaluated.
The Ce The ltics ate a lot by LeBron James (46 point s, 11 rebounds, 9 badists) in Game 6, but it may have been the efforts of his support team, particularly after Cleveland lost Kevin Love early, which ensured the Cavaliers kept Boston in arm's length for much of the night. A flurry of jumpers from the last game by James certainly ended any idea of a rally in Boston.
The Celtics players were disappointed in a sloppy effort in the second quarter that left them playing catch up after a solid start. But the Boston players remained optimistic about Sunday's game.
"First of all, it's going to be a lot of fun," said Terry Rozier, who scored 28 points, his team's best, on 10 of 16 shots. "Obviously, we fall short tonight, but we need the entire city of Boston behind us, we know that LeBron is different from many other guys, but we have to do the job, that's no excuse, so we're waiting for it. "
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The Celtics have tied an NBA record by winning 10 consecutive playoff games and are unbeaten in TD Garden this postseason. Still, Rozier warned against overconfidence.
"We can not trust that we're at home as an excuse that it's going to be easy, it's not," Rozier said. "But, as I said, we're willing to do it, we have to be aggressive, and we have to make things happen."
The Celtics had trouble making things happen sometimes in Game 6. Al Horford held a scoreless first half, failing the four shots he took while the Cavaliers routinely sent double teams his way.
The typically reserved Horford bristled a bit when asked about the quiet start.
"If you were watching the game, I was doubled as soon as I caught the ball," Horford said. "Every time, I really did not have a 1-on-1 position, so they did a good job of doubling me and making it difficult."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said his team is ready for a challenge on Sunday, but he expects his young team to respond.
"This group is resistant," Stevens said. "We will be ready to go on Sunday."
The Celtics have been a much better team at home than in the postseason and players have said that the atmosphere at TD Garden has contributed to their success.
"It's going to be electric," said Horford. "It's going to be a lot of fun, I'm looking forward to Sunday."