CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Nobody could deny LeBron James the chance to compete in his ninth NBA Finals and his eighth championship appearance in a row. The Cavaliers knocked off the Boston Celtics 87-79 in a decisive Game 7.
"It was a great atmosphere tonight, to be a part of that, to be a part of another Game 7 on the road," James said during a postgame press conference. "Those are things, like I said, that when you're done playing the game, you could only dream and wish to be part of that once again."
James scored 35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists in Sunday's elimination game. He played all 48 minutes in what was his 100th game of the season, including all 82 regular season games.
"It's what's been asked of me," says James. He added, "It was asked of me tonight to play the whole game and I just tried to figure it out how I could get through it."
The Cavaliers' season has been full of storylines; the team departed with Kyrie Irving, Irving's temporary replacement Isaiah Thomas missed two months during hip rehab, Kevin Love's season has been laden with injuries, head coach Ty Lue missed two weeks in the regular season because of health concerns, the team was completely restructured in February. All of the ups and downs, and the Cavaliers are heading back to the finals.
"I guess this is the last chapter for our team in this season. It's been a whirlwind. It's been Cedar Point," James said about this season's headlines. "It's been a roller coaster. It's been good, it's been bad. It's been roses, it's been thorns in the roses."
Now, Cleveland will face either the Golden State Warriors for the fourth year in a row or the Houston Rockets. The Western Conference champion will be decided in Game 7 Monday night.
The Cavaliers will likely be considered the underdog against either team.
"We have an opportunity to play for a championship," James said. "It doesn't matter what the story line is going to be, it doesn't matter if we're picked to win or not. I'm the wrong guy to ask. I just like to compete."
The NBA Finals start on the road for the Cavaliers on Thursday, May 31.