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CLEVELAND -- LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in.

Byline: Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.

And unless the Boston Celtics do something soon, he could get there again.

James bullied his way to 44 points, surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop a postseason list and helped the Cleveland Cavaliers even the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2 on Monday night with a 111-102 victory over the Celtics, who are looking forward to getting home before their adoring fans.

Pushed by a raucous crowd that wasn't so confident a few days ago, the Cavs held off Boston's comeback in the fourth quarter and squared a tight series that is now a best-of-three.

Cleveland is trying to become the 20th team -- out of 300 -- to overcome a 2-0 deficit, and James, who already has orchestrated two such rallies and is seeking his eighth straight Finals, is a step closer to a third.

But to do it again the Cavs will have to win in Boston, where the Celtics are 9-0 this postseason.

"It's a hostile environment," James said. "We understand that, we know that there's no love in there. If you ain't got on green, if you don't play for that team, if you don't bleed green, they got no love for you.

"So we've got to come out with a bunker mentality and understand it's just us (and) it's going to be a great atmosphere.

Game 5 is Wednesday night at TD Center, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked what message he would give his team.

"It's the best two out of three to go to the NBA Finals. Doesn't get better than that," he said. "Ultimately, anybody that didn't think this was going to be tough, I mean, everything is tough. In this deal, it's a blast to have to grit your teeth, get up off the mat and go after it again."

Kyle Korver added 14 points, and the 37-year-old added several hustle plays, outrunning three Celtics and diving for a loose ball. Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland.

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Title Annotation:Sports_
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:1U3OH
Date:May 22, 2018
Words:346
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