CLEVELAND — LeBron James chose Boston as the place he will play next.
Game 7 is on. And any talk about James’ future is on hold.
Delivering another performance for the ages, James scored 46 points and preserved his reign atop the Eastern Conference for at least one more game as the Cleveland Cavaliers shook off losing All-Star Kevin Love with a head injury and beat the Celtics 109-99 on Friday night to force a decisive climax to this back-and-forth series.
James, playing in perhaps his final game for the Cavs in Cleveland, added 11 rebounds and nine assists while playing all but two minutes — to avoid elimination and delay any decisions about where he’ll continue his remarkable career next season.
“Greatness,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “Gave it his all. We needed that, especially with Kevin going down. He delivered. He carried us home as usual.”
The king is not dead, and he still has a chance to make his eighth straight NBA Finals.
“It feels good just to be able to play for another game,” said James, who had his seventh 40-point game of these playoffs. “Like I’ve always said, Game 7 is the best two words in sports. … We should relish the opportunity and have fun with it.”
This series, in which home court has meant everything, will have a fitting conclusion Sunday at TD Center, where the Celtics are 10-0 this postseason.
“We have one game to be able to compete for a championship, and what more could you ask for?” James said. “If I’d have told you at the beginning of the season we only needed one game to make the NBA Finals, we’d take it.”
George Hill added 20 points, and Jeff Green 14 for the Cavs, who lost Love in the first quarter after he banged heads with Boston rookie Jayson Tatum.
Terry Rozier paced the Celtics — now 1-6 on the road — with 28 points, and Jaylen Brown had 27.
The Celtics were still within seven in the final three minutes before James made consecutive 3-pointers, punctuating the second by pounding his chest with both fists and screaming along with 20,562 others.
Boston’s improbable run through the postseason without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will now take the Celtics back home, where they play with more intensity, togetherness and before fans hungry to see an 18th title banner raised to their arena’s rafters.
“It’s not going to be pretty,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “We’ve got to come out ready to get our nose bloody and our mouth bloody. We’ve got to come out ready to fight. You’ve got to find a way, whatever it takes.”