Notes, quotes and observations after the Cavaliers defeated the Celtics 109-99 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs staved off elimination and forced the deciding Game 7 Sunday night at TD Garden, where the Celtics are 10-0 this postseason.

1. The Cavs survived despite the loss of their second-leading scorer and leading rebounder, Kevin Love, who banged heads with Jayson Tatum with 6:58 left in the second quarter and went to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion.



2. When he left the arena, Love had not been placed in the league’s concussion protocol, which might have made it unlikely he could play in Game 7.

3. As he departed, Love told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic that he had more tests to pass before he could be cleared to play. “Toss-up,” he told Lloyd.

4. Miraculously, Tatum stayed in the game and finished with 15 points, three rebounds and two assists.

5. “We were on that one and our trainers were on that one in the huddle right after,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Obviously, that was a nasty deal. He felt fine. We'll continue to talk to him over the next 24 hours to make sure, but every indication is he's fine.”

6. Michael Beaven will have more on Ohio.com on how Jeff Green, Tristan Thompson, and Larry Nance Jr. and the rest of the Cavs rallied in Love’s absence. But the casualty list could have been longer. The Cavs could have lost four-time league MVP LeBron James.

7. With 8:28 left in the game, Larry Nance Jr. fell into James’ right leg and both went down, James clutching the leg. James said he didn’t know the culprit until Nance asked him if he was OK afterward, so he guessed it was the fellow Akron native and Revere High School product.

8. “My leg kind of went in. I felt some pain throughout my entire right side of my ankle into my leg,” James said. “I was just hoping for the best, obviously, because I've seen so many different injuries. Watching basketball with that type of injury, someone fall into someone's leg standing straight up. Luckily, I was able to finish the game.”

9. James seemingly has been blessed with bionic ankles, although he suffered one of most serious sprains of his career last fall when rookie Cedi Osman stepped on his foot during a five-on-five scrimmage at the start of training camp. He rolled his ankle in Game 4 of the 2015 playoffs at Chicago and then-General Manager David Griffin said James’ ankle bone hit the floor. James retied his shoe and kept on playing, hitting the game-winner at the buzzer when he infamously “scratched” David Blatt’s plan for him to take the ball out. That was the same night when then-assistant Tyronn Lue saved Blatt from calling a timeout he didn’t have.

10. Asked how this injury compared to Chicago, James said, “Well, I wasn't coming out in either case. Obviously, I would have had to literally have a real, real, really bad injury….” He knocked on the table, then said, “I don't even know if this is ... that's not even wood; I'll find some on the way out -- to come off the floor with the opportunity we have to be able to force a Game 7.”

11. James looked like he was in pain. His voice was low. He said as soon as he got home he would start treatment.

12. “I'll do the same all day tomorrow from before we leave to go to Boston, and then once we get into Boston I'll do that as well,” James said. “Try to get as much sleep as I can tonight and tomorrow and even on Sunday before the game. That's the best recovery that you can possibly get, is when you're sleeping. It'll be around-the-clock treatment, and we'll see what happens.”
13. If James’ seventh 40-point game of the postseason wasn’t special enough, what he did after the injury made it more.

14. Before he left the game with 57 seconds remaining, he scored 12 points on a sore leg. He hit back-to-back dagger 3-pointers – 28- and 27-foot step-backs with 2:22 and 1;40 to go. After the second, he pounded his chest and let out one of his primal screams.

15. “The love of the game causes reactions like that,” James said. “Understanding the situation and understanding the moment that you're in. It was just a feeling that you can't explain unless you've been a part of it.”

MORE: Cavaliers 109, Celtics 99: LeBron James scores 46 points as Cavs force Game 7 in Eastern Conference finals

16. James finished with 46 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, three steals, one blocked shot and three turnovers in 46 minutes. Since the 2015 playoffs, the Cavs are 6-2 in possible elimination games and James has scored 40 points in five of them.

17. Asked what he saw in James’ performance, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said, “Greatness. Championship pedigree. Giving it his all. We needed that, especially when Kevin [Love] went down. We had to play Bron as many minutes as he had to. He delivered. He was up for the challenge. He carried us home as usual.”

18. Stevens has praised James throughout the series. Asked if he ever thinks he’s coaching against a different type of animal when James puts up a stat line like he did Friday, Stevens said, “Does that ever come into our minds? Like, yeah, every time we watch. Every time you're standing out there. Every time you watch him on film. Best player in the game.

19. "Special night tonight and special night in Game 4. I can't say enough good things about him.”

20. Stevens was wowed by James’ late-game 3s against Tatum.

21. “Great defense by Tatum, great shots by LeBron,”” Stevens said. “Hats off. I thought the second one wasn’t quite as contested as maybe the first one. The first one, that was ridiculous.”

22. James drew laughs when a reporter named Paulo from ESPN Brazil asked him about being a clutch player his whole career.

23. “I appreciate you saying I've been clutch my whole career. There's not many like you, I tell you.” James said. “Either you're being very kind to me because it's National Wine Day or you know I love Brazil or I don't know what it is right now, but….”

24. It was the first of two James’ references to National Wine Day, so that may have been part of his post-game treatment as well.

25. Friend and teammate Tristan Thompson joked about James’ “little breathers,” then added, “That’s all we can afford to give him right now.”

MORE: Cavaliers notebook: LeBron James has a big fan in Celtics coach Brad Stevens

26. Asked about James’ seven 40-point performances in 17 playoff games, Thompson made a joke again, saying, “It was a good 40. I’ve seen better. I’ve seen much better.” Then Thompson got serious.

27. “That’s a lot of scoring. I think this was close to Game 2 in Toronto where he just didn’t miss, he kept shooting jumpers all day. It’s up there with that. Today was the best one because the most (was) on the line.”

28. James went from admitting he “had his moments” of fatigue in the Game 5 loss Wednesday in Boston to another performance for the ages.

29. “It’s just so much heart,” Kyle Korver said. “And he wanted this game so bad. His performance was amazing and I’ve said this a thousand times, but I’m glad he’s on my team.”

30. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James boosted his average in elimination games to 34.1, the most in league history for players who have been in at least five. James’ career record is 13-9. It’s another category where he stands ahead of Michael Jordan, who averaged 31.3 (6-7). Next is ex-Cav Kyrie Irving (31.2, 4-1), followed by Wilt Chamberlain (31.1, 12-11).

31. Asked what is different about James in elimination games, Korver said. “I think he just craves those moments. He loves those moments. When the game is on the line, when the season is on the line, he’s been rising up. And that’s what the great players do.”

32. When he was with the Pacers, George Hill was knocked out of the playoffs three consecutive seasons by James and the Heat, so he’s seen James’ greatness up close before.

33. “That guy amazes me every night, from the amount of minutes, the amount of years he got, the amount of fouls he gets on his body and guys he has hanging off his body. What he does night in, night out is something remarkable,” Hill said. “That's why he's one of the best in the world, if not the best. But it's very special. I'm very fortunate and blessed to have him on our side this time. I've been in the league for some years and ran across him on the other side and really hated his guts. But to have him on our side, it kind of lets me take a deep breath of fresh air. It's just something that you really can't explain what he's doing night in, night out. It's just something special.”

34. Other Cavs rose up on Friday. Hill turned in a Cavs’ postseason-high 20 points. Jeff Green immediately took over for Love and scored 14 points. Nance tied his playoff career-high with 10 points, hitting all five of his shots, and added a playoff career-high seven rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes. Tristan Thompson helped hold Al Horford scoreless in the first half; Horford finished with six points, nine rebounds and four assists. Korver, 37, who is 6-foot and 212 pounds, won a jump ball against Aron Baynes, 6-10 and 265.

35. “I was trying to time it just right,” Korver said. “No, I did not expect to win it, but I just tried to get up there as quick as I could.”

36. Hill provided some information fans could relate to when he revealed he ate his pre-game meal at Chipotle for the third straight home game. (The Cavs are 3-0 at the Q in the series.)

37. Strangely enough, Hill gave up that nugget when asked about the emotions of being one victory away from getting to his first Finals.

38. “I don't know. I've been in a whirlwind all season, starting out in (Sacramento),” Hill said. ”I didn't think I would get this opportunity. To get this opportunity I think is a once in a lifetime. You've got to take advantage of it. I have to focus and try to do the same things that I prepared today to take into Sunday.

39. It sounds funny, but I had to go find my Chipotle barbacoa. That's my pregame meal, so I'm up two games, well, the three games here, that's what I ate before the game. I'm for sure going to find a Chipotle in Boston, I'll tell you that.”

40. Asked specifically his order, he said, “Regular tacos with barbacoa and guacamole.”

41. On Saturday afternoon, Chipotle's official Twitter @ChipotleTweets sent Hill a message. "Hey @George_Hill3, we’ve got whatever it takes for Game 7. Bring yourself and the @cavs to any Boston location on Sunday, and it’s on us."

42. Lue said the Cavs have a “blueprint” for Sunday’s Game 7, with their fourth consecutive trip to the Finals on the line. He said he saw something in the Cavs’ three losses in Boston that gives him confidence the Cavs can win.

43. Thompson didn’t seem to doubt that James would be able to play Sunday despite the leg injury.

44. “I’ve been in a couple Game 7s with that gentleman, so I know he’s going to come ready to play,” Thompson said. “I’m excited. This is what it’s about. Game 7 at the Garden, this is what you live for. It doesn’t get no better than that. Or Oracle for Game 7.”