It's worth repeating one final time: the Celtics had no business lasting this long, and even after blowing a 12-point lead in Game 7, there's no shame in falling short.
A Herculean effort in the NBA Playoffs has seen LeBron lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to another NBA Finals appearance virtually off his own back. James will be without his All-Star teammate, as he was for all but five minutes of Game 6, to try to win a Game 7 on the road - one of the toughest things in the game.
Perhaps it was Boston's lack of urgency and Cleveland's desperation that led the Cavaliers to a gritty 87-79 victory on Sunday night.
Sending out six players and bringing back four more, Cleveland general manager engineered an unprecedented mid-season roster overhaul - at least as far as any contending team in recent memory has been concerned. And while the chase-down block might be James' signature version, this more traditional swat was no less remarkable.
Irving underwent an earlier knee surgery in March to have a tension wire removed from the kneecap. He said "it's been better but I'll be ready tonight".
Among the keys for Boston: The performance of Jayson Tatum, especially as it relates to his ability to get to the free-throw line. That's why James wanted to huddle with one of Boston's burgeoning young stars when it was over, and why no around here would object if training camp started tomorrow.
NBA playoffs: LeBron James leads Cleveland Cavaliers to fourth straight finals over Boston Celtics
But as the Celtics look to the future, it's pretty clear how a score-first point guard with big-game experience could make a huge difference, or where a versatile two-way wing with an excellent 3-point shot and the ability to handle the ball might turn them from a fun story into a juggernaut.
Before picking either side in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, you need to read what SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein has to say.
Irving played for the Cavaliers from 2011-17.
The Celtics have seen him do it, after he averaged 33.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists to eliminate them in the East finals for the second straight year. Rapper 21 Savage was also at the game.
But ultimately Boston's very bad 3-point shooting (7-of-39) and 29-percent second-half shooting did the team in.
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