Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics

LeBron James

Irving took over the game in the second half and finished with 42 points despite a tender ankle, LeBron James added 34 and the Cavaliers moved one win from an nearly inevitable third date in the NBA Finals with the Warriors by rallying to beat Boston 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

With leading scorer Isaiah Thomas ruled out for the remainder of the postseason with a hip injury, a sweep for the Cavaliers looked like all but a formality.

Jerebko took exception to being called for a foul when Love hit the floor after the two got tangled up in the fourth quarter. 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. He finished with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and six turnovers.

We'd need a hot take to spice up the discussion around what was quickly becoming the most boring Eastern Conference Finals ever.

Isaiah Thomas may be gone, but he's not forgotten.

The Celtics also kept James in check on Sunday. The Cavaliers are 6-4 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games as a double-digit favorite. "We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we got some things we can correct and come back ready to go on Tuesday (in Game 4)".

If James' play wasn't stunning enough, Cavs forward J.R. Smith said his celebrated teammate lacked confidence. Usually you only really get to employ the element of surprise once, so it will be interesting to see how this group fares in Games 4 and 5. Johnson was replaced in the starting lineup for Game 2 by Gerald Green, but after a 44-point loss and with Thomas out, Stevens went back to Johnson in Game 3.

"You let a team grab momentum like that, you nearly know that last shot is going in", James said.

The Celtics were down by as much as 21-points in the second-half having to overcome a scoreboard that read 77-56 before they mounted one of the historic franchises epic playoff comebacks in its history. He knows that. We know that.

"He's still collecting information and we'll see or discuss second, and probably third, fourth, fifth opinions", said the Celtics coach.

"He's been the driving force, this entire playoff run, and all of us have just helped us along the way", Irving said.

Avery Bradley scored 19 and Jae Crowder 18 for Boston.

"I said that before the series even started about Brad Stevens' ATOs", said Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

When Bradley's 3-pointer bounced in with less than a second to go, James had lost for the first time in 50 playoff games when his team owned a 20-point lead.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love had 28 for Cleveland. He failed to score in the final 16:31 of the contest.

Heading into Game 3, the Cavaliers could not of been on a higher note.

The NBA playoffs, which have been rather pedestrian up to this point, got exactly what it needed: a little LeBron drama.

The Celtics found a way without him.

"I think it is making us better". "Just come out, be aggressive, in attack mode like he has been over the last four or five months".

If the Celtics were playing with house money heading into the series, they are flush with it again as they return to the Garden.

Drawing any grand conclusions other than LeBron needs to play better means you're stretching for hot takes.

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