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Boston's strategy has been simple but also incredibly hard to execute: Put your most muscular players in the game and hope they can withstand the beating James administers while also taking away Cleveland's other looks.

The Cavaliers evened the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2 on Monday night with a dominant 111-102 win in Cleveland over the Boston Celtics.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on in the second half of Game 5 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 23, 2018 in Boston. It sure has looked at times as though he relishes these moments, though James said otherwise at Cavaliers shootaround Friday.

In a closeout game six, you better believe he is going to bring something special, because he has never been anything short of spectacular in closeout games. "I haven't always been successful, obviously".

"I thought we would play better, but we didn't", Lue said. "We should relish the opportunity and have fun with it".

The 20-year-old becomes the first Celtics player to receive the nod since Paul Pierce in 1998-99. Fatigue appears to be catching up with LeBron James after accumulating far too many minutes this season (he led the league).

"I didn't think we played well tonight at all", said Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue. The Cavaliers role players do nearly nothing on the road and that's the reason they're playing a second seven-game series these playoffs.

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"He looked a little exhausted to me", Lue said.

James led the way for the Cavs with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Love, who missed a March 28 game at Charlotte with a concussion, immediately raised his arm as if to signal he needed help.

Discussion after Game 5 was centered squarely on how LeBron James ran out of gas and how rookie Jason Tatum ran circles around the aging superstar.

Love did not return to the game. "I know what's at stake the next game".

Celtics: Own a 37-0 record when leading a series 2-0.

Was Korver sore from his face-first dive late Monday night, something he alluded to in the locker room after the game? I think that is a lot to ask.

While the praise for the genius of Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has sometimes bordered on absurd, especially this postseason, Cavaliers coach Ty Lue's postgame press conference should provide a glimpse at the alternatives in today's National Basketball Association.


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