May 23, 2017, 8:27 pm
Let’s face it, when the Cavs surrendered Game 3 to the Isaiah Thomas-less Celtics the basketball world was shocked and there would be no doubt the Cavs would get revenge at home. It wasn’t exactly easy at times, but the Cavs defended their home court to take a 3-1 series lead over the Celtics. Let’s get in to the details of a series-defining Game 4.
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KYRIE DROPS 42 POINTS TO LEAD CAVS OVER CELTICS
The Celtics threatened to make it a series early in the game as they took a 16-point lead. LeBron James picked up his 4th foul with the Cavs down 10 points at the 6:46 mark in the 2nd quarter, a feat he has never accomplished in the first 1,271 games in his career (regular season and playoffs). The Cavs were desperate for an answer. Enter Kyrie Irving.
Irving took over with 12 points while James watched from the bench to close out the half. He kept it going with 21 more points in the third quarter as the Cavs clawed their way back and took a seven-point lead to end the third quarter.
The Cavs unbelievably shot 71% in the second half. Irving finished shooting 15-for-22 from the field and 8-for-9 from the line for a playoff career-high 42 points, three boards, four assists and four 3-pointers in 41 minutes. He took a rough fall late in the third quarter and clutched his ankle, taking the air out of Quicken Loans Arena. He got right back up and made athletic plays to hush any questions about his injury.
James poured in the quietest 34-point game you will ever see in the Conference Finals. He finished shooting 15-for-27 from the field for 34 points with five boards, six assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 38 minutes, despite missing much of the second quarter due to foul trouble. He scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, one game removed from scoring zero points in the fourth in Game 3.
Kevin Love was terrific as well, scoring 17 points (6-for-13 FGs) with 17 boards, five assists, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 42 minutes. He was seen limping in the final minute of the game, but he brushed it off in post game interviews. Expect the big three to be healthy on Thursday in Boston.
The Celtics started off with a bang after taking a 16-point lead but couldn’t put two halves together. Avery Bradley lead the Celtics with 19 points (7-for-19 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs), five boards, three assists, two steals and one 3-pointer in 39 minutes. He went cold from beyond the arc, shooting just 1-for-7. The Celtics will need him to get hot in order to have a chance in Game 5.
Jae Crowder went to the locker room with a thigh injury late in the third quarter, but he brushed it off and returned minutes later. Crowder finished shooting 6-for-12 from the field for 18 points with eight boards, four assists and four 3-pointers in 40 minutes.
It was an efficient night for Al Horford, who shot 7-for-11 from the field for 16 points, three rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 37 minutes. Unfortunately, the Celtics simply don’t have the star power to keep up with the Cavs, especially without Isaiah Thomas.
The Celtics will need to pull off a historic upset if they want a shot to come back down 3-1 to the Cavs. They will host the Cavs in Boston for Game 5 on Thursday night.
That’ll do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish, playoff edition! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. Happy Hump Day Hoop-Ballers!