3 things to watch for as Celtics face Cavaliers in Game 4

Irving took over in the second half and finished with 42 points despite playing on a tender ankle, LeBron James added 34 and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of an nearly inevitable third date in the NBA Finals with Golden State by rallying to beat Boston 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The barely-breathing Celtics went in to Game 3 as 16.5-point underdogs and trailed by 21 points halfway through the third quarter.

After the Cavs obliterated the Celtics, 130-86, in Game 2, it didn't seem like Boston could stand a chance against LeBron James, 32, Tristan Thompson, 26, and the rest of the Cleveland squad.

So was the Celtics' Game 3 win just fool's gold, setting everybody up for a painful Game 5 in Boston?

Boston got off to its best start in this series after a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder put the Celtics ahead 18-11.

Since Boston were without Isaiah Thomas due to a hip injury, the Cavaliers should have been able to keep the mojo going and dispatch the Celtics easily.

It was an odd game for sure, with nothing being any stranger than LeBron James being whistled for not one, not two, not three, but four personal fouls ... in the first half. The Cavs are better off getting that bad game of their chest when they still are in such a good position.

That roar you heard was the Quicken Loans Arena crowd cheering as Irving bounced up off the floor and sprinted back on defense a few moments later. "They had their way offensively in the first half".

The Cavaliers outscored the Celtics by 17 with Irving on the floor during his magical third quarter. He had as many turnovers (6) as he did rebounds.

"I've twisted my ankle so many times on plays like that", Irving said. James and Irving both had six points, too. The C's immediately responded with an 11-0 run to take an 11-5 advantage, and that lead grew to as high as 11 before Boston finished the frame up 29-19.

For a free way to watch the Celtics vs. Cavs live streaming online, SlingTV is the way to go.

Welcome back to "3 Shots" as we take a look at the three biggest observations from the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

  • Julie Sanders