Richard Jefferson: LeBron's Game 3 performance due to illness

Boston failed twice to beat the Cavaliers as they hosted them in TD Garden for the first two games of the series, but they did defeat Cleveland in their territory yesterday. The Defensive Player of the Year award has only been around since 1982-83 and the National Basketball Association didn't start naming Finals MVPs until 1968-69.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives on Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland.

"What happened hurts; it's a loss in the postseason", James said after the Cavs squandered a 21-point lead in the third quarter. Surely, LeBron James will be back to his normal self after seeing the Warriors close out their series easily.

"We've been playing so well, but like I said, you let a team grab momentum like that, you nearly knew that that last shot was going to go in", James said. "You always come around when we lose, I swear". When you're watching Michael Jordan it's nearly like a god. And I think that's what 'Bron had. He quickly flashed one finger as he backpedaled down the court. "That was my mindset".

"I had a tough game, period". But he said both he and his teammates continue to be inspired by their leader.

"They moved the ball, and they kept us at bay", he said.

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

"This team is a insane team. Just expect him to be better in Game 4". "So we got back together".

"Uh, I mean, listen, you've got to be smart about it", James said. The Cleveland Cavaliers had a 21 point lead, but they blew it, according to ESPN. Conversely, after hitting 14 threes in the first half the Cavs made just 2 in the final 24 minutes.

The Celtics' scrappy win in Game 3 comes in stark contrast to the club's lopsided losses in the first two games of the series.

Boston shot 47 percent from the field and 35 percent from the 3-point line in the first half of Game 4 on their way to building as much as a 16-point lead.

Lue went on to attribute part of James' offensive struggles to the fact teammates Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were putting up big scoring numbers. The last time that happened when James played all 12 minutes in the final quarter was in a 2005-06 regular-season game vs. Washington. Boston also had its ball-movement game working perfectly, and they mounted a huge and winning comeback over the last two quarters. He still leads all postseason scorers with a 32.2 ppg average and has scored at least 25 points in 10 of Cleveland's 11 postseason contests. Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing. Kelly Olynyk had 15 points off the bench for Boston.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens saw his team was still in the game, and he did some old-fashioned coaching at halftime.

"You obviously hear people saying that it's all about how you respond, and we don't feel like people believed in us and counted us out", Bradley said.

Right now technology is Isaiah Thomas' only connection to the Celtics locker room.

  • Julie Sanders