Even LeBron James might not be able to save these Cleveland Cavaliers

Boston's young guns star as Celtics blast Cavs for 3-2 series lead

James (26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists) and Love (14 points and seven rebounds) did what they could, yet the Cavaliers' other starters, George Hill, J.R. Smith and Thompson, combined for only 10 points.

Behind a dominant performance from a 20-year-old rookie, a double-double from their lone remaining healthy All-Star, and bucket-of-nails toughness from a pair of Marcuses off the bench, the Celtics returned to the parquet with 96-83 Game 5 victory Wednesday night that has them one triumph away from an improbable spot in the NBA Finals.

The Cleveland Cavaliers face elimination against the Boston Celtics on Friday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.

I'd be willing to bet that this Cleveland team finishes ten games under.500 without LeBron James on the roster. "I haven't always been successful, obviously".

Also on the line is James' consecutive Finals streak.

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After getting outrebounded by at least 10 rebounds in Games 3 and 4, the Celtics were able to outwork Cleveland on the boards in Game 5 with 45 rebounds as against the Cavs' 39.

The Celtics are averaging 102.8 points per game with a 43.9 field goal shooting percentage in the playoffs.

"We've got to be focused, composed and play with a lot of poise and we'll be fine", he said, clearly up for the challenge. The opposition still has the best player that any opposition can have. "But I think everybody at this point is exhausted or worn down". A developing Tatum is a scary addition to an already solid Celtics squad that includes Kyrie, Hayward, Al Horford, and Jaylen Brown for next season.

LeBron James is going to need a miracle if he's to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth straight time. But he turned the ball over six times in Game 5, seven times in Game 1 and six times in Game 2 - all losses.

"I think his composure is impressive, he plays above his age", James told National Basketball Association reporters before Game 5.

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This was Tatum's ninth 20-point game of the postseason; he now sits fourth on the NBA's all-time list of most postseason points by a rookie with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (352) in his sights if Boston can extend its playoff run.

Nance finished the game with two points, six rebounds, four blocks and two assists.

"Sometimes you see rookies have problems when they get to this point".

"But I was still trying to make plays to put our team in a position to win".

"We look forward to having an opportunity to force a game seven. Definitely going back to Cleveland on Friday, we had to take care of business, and that's what we did".

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To examine that question, ESPN brought in NBA Insiders Chris Herring, Kevin Arnovitz, Micah Adams, Kevin Pelton, and André Snellings - none of whom give the Cavs more than a 50 percent chance to advance - and asked them how a loss tonight would change James' tomorrow.

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