LeBron, Cavs try to shake 'weird' loss in Game 3 to Celtics

Posted May 25, 2017

The Cavs would shoot 69.2 percent for the second half compared to Boston's 41.2 percent and the Cavs had come back and won the game before the Celtics even knew what was happening.

Lue paused for several seconds before responding to a question about the third and fourth fouls called on James, who was whistled for barely touching Marcus Smart on a jumper and then was called for a charge.

James then assessed his Game 3 performance.

James had one of his worst playoff games ever in that series - in Game 5, at home, he scored 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting and the Cavaliers were blown out. The team need to win the next three games if they are to reach the NBA Finals.

Boston defended James the same in Game 3 as it had in each of the prior matchups.

The Warriors and Cavaliers are still on a path to meet in the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, which would be a first in league history.

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Given the way that Thomas played through massive adversity throughout the postseason and the way he led the Celtics all season, it was important to Boston players to include him in Sunday's postgame euphoria. And all the way back in 2010, LeBron spent most of the second half of a Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics standing in the corner watching his season slip away.

James didn't score in the fourth quarter and went only 1 for 8 from the field with one rebound and one assist in the second half.

James, determined to bounce back after a poor 11-point haul in Game 3, then steadied the Cleveland nerves in the fourth quarter, bringing the Cavaliers home for the win as Boston's fearless effort came up short. "But I thought we did a good job of making some adjustments in the end of the second quarter and the third quarter and the second half [in Game 4] that really helped us out", he said, after the Cavs locked down the Celtics in the second half of Game 4. "Just expect him to be better in Game 4". "We can't go back to Boston tied 2-2".

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love had 28 for Cleveland. "We wish he was here with us and we just want him to get better".

"I'm kind of glad it happened the way it did", James said.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who elevated to Thomas' starting role, scored 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers during Sunday's win.

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What made the loss so stunning for players in the Cavs' locker room, as well as the fans who couldn't believe what they witnessed, was just two nights earlier the Cavs set records for the way they dominated the Celtics in Game 2.

Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99).

"We've got guys that have chips on their shoulders", Stevens said.

"Right when you think you've figured something out, he just kills you", Boston coach Brad Stevens said. Cleveland improved to 35-5 against Eastern teams in the playoffs since 2015. [The Celtics are], like I told you guys before, it's like we're preparing for a whole new team. In his first trip to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat, LeBron was criticized for his passive play.

The Celtics left TD Garden after their Game 2 beat-down anything but sure they could give their fans at least one more home game. Let's take a look at three ways the Eastern Conference finals goes to a Game 6.

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