Cavs staying humble with chance to close out Celtics

"He just never had the opportunity because of the team at that point in time".

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

"At the end of the day, I think we put in a lot of good basketball (in Cleveland)", Stevens said.

"As the stakes get higher and higher, his game gets higher and higher, but (his performance in game four) was nothing surprising for me".

The circumstances were different and the primary author of the comeback was Irving instead of James, but Cleveland fighting back from 16 down was in some ways reminiscent of the 26-point halftime deficit the Cavs erased in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Indiana Pacers. No sooner had last week's wild draft lottery dropped off the radar of the league's devoted UFO spotters ("Lemme guess: Boston goes first, then Lakers at No. 2?) up popped Game 3 Sunday between the Celtics and Cavaliers".

The Celtics gave it their best effort, but their offense eventually stalled during the second half of Game 4. "They can not. We can not go to Boston 2-2 and then it becomes nearly an even series". They were able to carve out a victory over the Cavs in Game 3 on Avery Bradley's three-pointer with one-tenth of a second remaining.

"He's a special talent", James said about Irving. "Obviously, I couldn't be as aggressive as in the first half because of the foul trouble, so if I'm on the floor, I've got to be aggressive and try to make plays, help our team be successful and read the defense".

James recovered from an 11-point, 4-of-13 shooting night he endured in Cleveland's stunning Game 3 loss. They're 5-4 in the postseason so far.

In addition, Jae Crowder suffered a strained left thigh in the third quarter of Game 4 as well, but returned to play the entire fourth quarter.

I think the Celtics will come out playing hard, attacking the Cavs relentlessly. But they deserve credit.

Tip-ins Celtics: Thomas spoke to coach Brad Stevens and told him that he has visited one hip specialist and plans to see more before it's decided if he needs surgery. The Celtics opened up the game moving the ball unselfishly and getting a lot of good looks.

  • Julie Sanders