NBA Playoff Odds: Celtics Double-Digit Underdogs In Game 5 Vs. Cavs

In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics were threatening to even the series 2-2 and crush the Cavs' dreams of a third consecutive matchup with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Irving has been excellent in this series, averaging 26.3 points, 5.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game while shooting.627 from the field and.500 from 3-point range.

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.

Boston came out with another strong effort in Game 4, charging out of the gate with a 29-19 lead at the end of the first quarter which held up into a 57-47 lead at the end of the first half.

"Because their series went to (Game) 7, we game planned for both teams (Celts and Washington)", he said.

Credit for accepting his imperfections, for opening up and taking direction and criticism, for working on his body, his game and his command of the team. Then, James caught a pass from Irving and threw down a slam dunk that brought the crowd to its feet and got the Cavaliers to within seven points of the Celtics, 61-54, with 8:42 to play in the third quarter. Star player LeBron James had racked up a quick four fouls and had to sit the remaining six minutes of the half.

The Cavs, especially Irving, did that in Game 4. He capped his blistering 19-point outburst with a 3 in the final second of the quarter and celebrated at mid-court by pretending to put two pistols back in his holster. This proved futile since the defender went under the screen and was easily able to beat Smart to the spot he tried to get to.

"I feel like we're humble enough to know we haven't played well at home", he said.

Kevin Love had 17 points and a playoff career-high 17 rebounds for Cleveland, which had 23 assists on 44 made baskets. It was a five-minute display of the all-court shotmaking prowess that makes Irving one of the most hard individual covers in basketball.

Stevens could say his team tripling its turnover rate was a result of sloppy ball-handling.

It's an indication that despite still being in a dire 3-1 hole, the resolve inside Boston's locker room remains strong. However, when his team needed him most, Irving delivered with one of the best performances of his career.

"Didn't look good, but (Irving) said he's fine, got back up, continued to play, made some big shots".

With James back at full strength and the Celtics severely depleted with Isaiah Thomas out, the Cavaliers are deserving of their role as massive favorites heading into Game 5.

As well as Boston played in the regular season with 53 wins and a 30-11 record at home, they simply don't have the pieces to compete with Cleveland when the Cavs are close to firing on all cylinders.

  • Julie Sanders