Irving, James lead the way as Cavaliers down Celtics

Paola Ditto
Mag 26, 2017

Like, y'know, LeBron James.

What sparked these thoughts was stuff like this after LeBron and the Cavaliers blew a 21-point lead in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics on Sunday night at home after thoroughly dominated the East's top seed in the first two games.

All is not lost - far from it.

Cleveland leads the series 2-1.

Had Irving not changed the game in the third quarter by asserting his game, most of the grumbles still would have been about James, his fouls and what they meant to the outcome.

The visitors opened the game very well, and after 12 minutes they had 10 point lead. But when it happens in a situation like that and you receive all of that without expecting it, it shakes your world a little bit.

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

"I had a tough game, period", he said following the game and following a postgame incident in which he challenged a fan that heckled him about the performance. If it was going to happen, let it happen now. "We have to regroup and get back to playing desperate basketball". He finished with two points in 18 minutes.For the game Boston shot just 37 percent (32 of 86) from the field and 29 percent (8 of 27) from beyond the arc. They led by 41 - 72-31 - at halftime and won the game, 130-86.

Deron Williams, who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland.

"Past it", James said after Cavs shootaround Tuesday. "We wish he was here with us, and we just want him to get better". Boston apparently won't go down without a fight as some previously expected, but another outright win in Cleveland is a dubious proposition. Bradley said. "We never counted ourselves out". "We knew that Friday (Game 2) was a disaster".

If Boston can push a Game 6 or 7, it's better for the league.

"I felt like every shot is going in".

Las Vegas isn't buying what Bradley is selling.

The Celtics' shooting will fall back down to earth, while normal service resumes for James as he leads the Cavs to a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Boston.

Cleveland slowly crept back in the game in the third, and eventually went ahead 73-72 following a pair of free throws by James with 3:15 to play in the quarter. And don't forget his classic Game 4 no-show against Dallas in the 2011 Finals, when he totaled just eight points. He was three of six from the foul line.

"Guys like Jay Crowder and Al Horford, whoever switched on him, did a great job", Bradley said. "I hope we can continue to play with that chip on our shoulder and come out the same way next game". "I think any time that you can play with that kind of skill and size - he's started games before when Amir has been out, and I think that we'll be able to bring Jonas (Jerebko) in later on when they have their smaller lineup out there, which is probably - which is helpful for us". We couldn't get out in transition a lot. The victory in itself wasn't as shocking as the fact that the team was coming off having been downed by 44 points at home in Game 2 with point guard Isaiah Thomas, who was ruled out for the playoffs after the game.

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