James, Cavaliers aim to rebound In Game 4 vs. Celtics

The Cavs did not look like themselves during the second half of Game 3 as a new-look Celtics lineup torched them 55-31 during the final 18 minutes, en route to a 111-108 win.

Kyrie Irving was at his explosive best May 23 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. He never previously had that many fouls in the first half in his 14-year career, and Cleveland trailed 46-33.

James hit a three-pointer in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics that gave him 29 points in the game, at that stage 5989 points in his post-season career.

"That's all I've got to say about my performance".

"We decided were going to go out and play hard, swinging". Irving then keyed a rally with two 3-pointers, a driving layup and two free throws as the Cavs drew to within 57-47 at halftime. After going 14-of-22 from three-point range in the first half, the Cavs shot just 2-of-17 the rest of the way.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was disappointed with his team's defense on Irving, who was able to spread the floor while surrounded by shooters. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists.

The Celtics ended the Cavaliers' 13-game postseason winning streak despite playing without injured star Isaiah Thomas and losing by 44 points in Game 2.

Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates.

"Kyrie saw LeBron go out, put our team on his shoulders and let us ride him until LeBron got back", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

"We knew we didn't play our basketball in the first half, but we had to make a conscious decision on how bad did we want it", Irving said. Meanwhile, Jonas Jerebko also made a huge contribution with 10 points (4-4 FG, 2-2 3-PT FG) and 5 rebounds in just 13 minutes of action.

"It wasn't tough to watch", he said as the Cavaliers prepared for Tuesday night's Game 4.

"He's got to be aggressive, get downhill, play like he's been playing, play confident", shooting guard J.R. Smith said Monday after practice. "But like I said, we won 10 in a row, we lost a game and we've got a chance to come back and work on some things that we're definitely going to correct". Boston has to rebound by committee, and they did that in this game, but part of that was a seeming disinterest from Cleveland on doing the work.

Bradley shot just 7 of 19 from the field.

Game 4 is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

Lue should have warned James to be careful, too, as the superstar picked up four fouls and spent the final 6:46 of the first half watching from the bench, unable to help his team. They set an National Basketball Association playoff record by erasing that deficit in the second half on their way to a 119-114 victory. Cavs F LeBron James trails Michael Jordan (5,987 points) by just 28 points for first place in National Basketball Association playoff history in scoring. "They were unbelievable. Irving was incredible at the end of the third, and then obviously LeBron had all those baskets in the fourth". We've just got to get back to, like I said, being physical, bringing the physicality and having a defensive mindset. "So we've got to be a lot better, for sure".Leave it to James to find a bright side to what was an bad night.

"We called him on FaceTime, so he got to celebrate with us a little bit", Bradley said. That's what great teams do.

  • Julie Sanders