Avery Bradley helps Boston Celtics beat Cleveland Cavaliers in Eastern Conference finals

The most practical idea would be to bring back the best-of-five first-round format, which would add so much more suspense to the opening round of the playoffs. "I hope we can continue to play with that chip on our shoulder and come out the same way next game".

The Celtics lost Game 2 at home by 44 and the first two games of the series by a combined 57. It capped a furious, focused comeback by the Celtics, who trailed by 21 in the third quarter before rallying to tighten up a series that appeared to be over.

Statistically, Thompson played better in Game 3 than in Game 2 when the Cavs set all kinds of records for beating down another team in the NBA Playoffs.

Everybody knows the conference finals are just a tune up for the Cavs' inevitable - or as conspiracy theorists call it, "pre-ordained" - rematch with Golden State for the championship belt.

Smart played all but 37 seconds of the second half and Stevens had the ball in his hands all night.

"I feel some adversity is all part of the postseason", James said. The team did not want to jeopardize his long-term health by allowing him to continue to play.

The effort made Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors' depth and talent proved too much for short-handed San Antonio.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) looks to drive on Boston Celtics' Terry Rozier (12) during the first half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland. "I think it started with Marcus Smart, how poised he was at the end of the game". The Nos. 3 and 4 seeds could get four home games, as well, but in a different sequential order.

What this season's playoff lacks in drama it is quickly making up for with suspicion. "So we've got to be a lot better, for sure".

So maybe that's what'll get the big national play today: When LeBron picked up his fourth foul (that's right, his fourth!) in the second quarter and disappeared for the remaining 6:46 of the half, Irving picked up his game. Thomas is a very likable player around the league, and free agents would be more inclined to play for the Celtics with him, opposed to without him. For a guy who played great for five straight months, he's got to have a bad game sooner or later.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - LeBron James was nowhere to be seen, staying behind the scenes, keeping a low profile.

For the second consecutive year, we've now seen him put up some of the worst three point shooting percetages during the regular season and then suddenly becoming a competent shooter in the postseason. Or, was it merely a way to avoid a devastating sweep as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference? Everyone still knows that it probably is going to be OK for him and the Cavs. There are a million scenarios here that could tip the competition in the opposing team's favor. The Cavs chose to go under screens, giving Smart room to shoot and he burned them badly. If it's going to happen, let it happen now. Celtics will most likley have to choose one guy to lose, and depending on the day of the week, that guy changes amongst Celtics fans. "We couldn't get stops". "Just, having to hear ... since the blowout, everybody counting us out".

  • Julie Sanders