Sport

Irving's 42, LeBron's 34 pushes Cavs past Celtics in Game 4

Irving's 42, LeBron's 34 pushes Cavs past Celtics in Game 4

Over their last eight playoff games the Celtics are just 3-5 SU, but they've gone 10-4 ATS over their last 14 per the OddsShark NBA Database.

It was the fourth-lowest point total for James in 210 career playoff games.

Boston Celtics' Jonas Jerebko, top, from Sweden, defends against Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James in the second half of Game 3 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Cleveland. After back-to-back humiliations at home, the Boston Celtics went to Cleveland-without top scorer Isaiah Thomas-and ended the Cavs' flawless playoff run with a 111-108 win in Game 3.

However, the big story of the night was the performance from LeBron James.

How were the Celtics able to work their offense so well against a Cleveland team that had reeled off 10 straight playoff wins this year before Sunday's game?

Lue however shrugged off the off night on Monday as he prepared his team for Tuesday's Game 4 in Cleveland.

Did you know NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was so anxious about the league's TV ratings that he rang up LeBron James and told him to take it easy on the Celtics?

Lue paused for several seconds before responding to a question about the third and fourth fouls called on James, who was whistled for barely touching Marcus Smart on a jumper and then was called for a charge.

The fan was escorted away by security personnel, but minutes later James, nearly always totally cooperative with the media, got testy when asked about his second-half struggles.

"Some of the plays that we made, some of the plays that I made, I was like, 'What are we doing?' or 'What could I have done better?'" James said.

Roger Goodell: NFL to allow some flair in celebration
Many coaches will be grateful to hear this news as it'll give them one more game to try out players at the bottom of the roster. The change will include all preseason, regular season and playoff games, although postseason contests can not end in ties.


"I would rather have adversity and win", Lue said with a laugh. Me, personally, I didn't have it. For a guy who played great for five straight months, he's got to have a bad game sooner or later. But me, personally, I didn't have it. We've just got to get back to, like I said, being physical, bringing the physicality and having a defensive mindset.

Kevin Love added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavs, now 11-1 in the postseason.

Making it more staggering is that James has been so brilliant in this postseason, taking his exquisite game to an even higher level.

On a night when the Celtics could have easily won, a night when the great LeBron James picked up four first-half fouls for the first time in his National Basketball Association playoff career, Irving took over and stole the show. He also had five turnovers.

"He's human, so he's going to have a night like this", said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue.

Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates. It's not something we're going to hang our head on. "They have a scrappy team", he said. Golden State swept through the West undefeated at 12-0, and they will take on the victor of the East (we all know it will be Cleveland).

"We owe our fans a better performance, and we know that, and we're going to play hard", Celtics guard Avery Bradley said.

The Cavs may think Smart is the man because of his 3-point shooting in the last game, but it is much more likely to be a Bradley, Horford, Crowder, Olynyk or possibly rookie Jaylen Brown who leads them.

Typically, James bounces back following poor games. After a time out the Celtics had the ball with ten seconds to go off the inbounds. "We couldn't get stops". But this to me was a ideal example [of the Cavs saying] 'We're going to win the series. "We only had two fast-break points, so they neutralized what we wanted to do".

It was as though the Cavaliers spent the final 18 minutes of Game 3 and most of the first 24 minutes in Game 4 in the Twilight Zone and emerged from it as the team that started the 2017 playoffs 10-0. "Because they got a tough group over there".


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