Kyrie Irving's 42 points spark Cavs' comeback win over Celtics

by Leon Thompson May 25, 2017, 1:36

Instead, the Cleveland Cavaliers woke up in a flash behind Kyrie Irving's heroics, erasing a 16-point Boston lead and eventually cruising home to a 112-99 win in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead.

What may have happened with Thomas out for the series, is the Celtics chose to rely on several players instead of one. As close as that may be to being true, I subscribe to a different theory. "He rose to the occasion and he put the team on his back".

The Cavs blistered the Celtics with a 44-point loss on the TD Garden parquet in Game 2. They played with a certain edge that only a few fan bases can appreciate.

Irving, meanwhile, at 25, is just getting into his prime having already won a championship and made one of the biggest shots in National Basketball Association history.

One might be tempted to say that Cleveland thought it had broken their spirit, and it was wrong in large part because of Marcus Smart's heroics. However, his teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love scored 28 points and 29 points, respectively. Marcus Smart showed his abilities by nailing seven of the 10 three-point shots he took and finished with 27 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. It means something that the Celtics turned the ball over on just 8.6% of their Game 3 possessions with Smart on the floor. "I'm not going to be critical of the best player in the world".

"As we all know, a 10-point lead at halftime is nothing, especially against those guys", said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. He is a true competitor.

Avery Bradley scored 19 and Jae Crowder 18 for Boston.

At first glance, the sight of Avery Bradley's 3-point attempt in the waning seconds of Game 3 doesn't come to mind as the flawless shot.

He coughed the ball up, looked tentative offensively and seemed disinterested with anything happening on the boards. Were the Celtics suddenly stronger when backed into a corner and forced to play Jonas Jerebko 21 minutes? Much of the game had an off-kilter vibe, reminiscent of past playoff series: LeBron's biomechanics were misaligned for three quarters, like they were in 2011; the Celtics were evoking the randomness of their 2012 selves. But me personally, I didn't have it.

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A moment later, he added, "That's all I've got to say about my performance". He did much of the damage to Boston in the quarter while playing with an injured ankle.

The Celtics happily profited from James' inactivity.

The Cavaliers outscored the Celtics by 17 with Irving on the floor during his magical third quarter.

"We had opportunities. It is what it is". They were getting the ball to the high post, letting Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk get downhill and find shooters in the corner on the collapse, a la Draymond Green in Golden State.

"It doesn't matter what Bron's numbers were", said Tristan Thompson.

Irving's dynamic skill-set - he's one of the flashiest ballhandlers and most creative at-the-rim finishers in the league, and his range is limitless when he's on - is sometimes overshadowed by the general magnitude of James. "It's just an effort all around".

You'd think it would be Celtics fans' worst nightmare: A rejuvenated, revenge-minded LeBron James picks himself up from the canvas, shakes off the leftover rust from Game 3 and scores 50 points in Game 4.

The entire defense breaks down on the Smart screen because Smith gets caught out of position and allows an easy drive and kick.


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