Another NBA championship would put LeBron James in a select group

Paola Ditto
Mag 24, 2017

The Celtics, who are missing their best player, injured guard Isaiah Thomas, led by as many as 16 points in the first half and appeared primed to stun Cleveland again while James flirted with disaster.

However, the Cavaliers struggled to duplicate the effort in Game 3. But Cleveland got complacent, Smart got hot and the Celtics, who arrived at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday morning for their shootaround without Thomas and looking somewhat defeated, never gave up. He said the absence of Thomas, who will miss the rest of the playoffs with a hip injury, may have helped inspire the team. The point total was stunning considering it broke James' streak of scoring at least 30 points in eight straight playoff games.

James returned for the start of the second half, but this was the obvious early storyline of the game considering how important the perennial MVP candidate has been to the Cavaliers since returning to Cleveland.

As Lue spoke to a large group of reporters and some Cavs players got in extra shots following practice, James was noticeably absent from the floor. "As the stakes get higher and higher, his game gets higher and higher, but it was nothing surprising for me".

Irving re-emerged after halftime for 21 points in the third quarter. At the end of the day it's a good win for us, and it's hard.

By the time the night ended, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens called Irving "incredible" and that didn't quite cover it. 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. He's most likely going to be a lot more aggressive. The Celtics moved the ball the way they had against Chicago and Washington in the first two rounds and found the open man. The Chicago Bulls will get Avery Bradley, Jonas Jerebko, and T.J Warren.

James's performance was the major talking point after Sunday's defeat, with the Cavs star finishing with just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Obviously, it's up to him how much longer he wants to go.

"No, no, they didn't mix up the coverage", James said. He also handed out 5.9 assists per night.

But then, I didn't know Michael Jordan's first retirement was actually a "secret suspension" imposed by former Commissioner David Stern for gambling.

Thomas has one more year left on his contract, and will be asking for big-time money once that contract is up.

That was clearly a huge blow for Boston, but it also had an impact on the Cavaliers. They get credit for that. They are 10-10 in their last 20 road games overall. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with Cleveland, which leads Boston 2-1 in the East finals.

So, what changes in Game 4 that could turn this back in Cleveland's favor?

Typically, James bounces back following poor games. It was the first time he had failed to reach 25 points scored during these playoffs.

The money line for the Celtics against the Cavs in Game 4 is set at +1200, meaning that a $100 bet on the Celtics would win you $1,200.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE