Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Final: Cavaliers 112, Celtics 99 11:00 pm Tue

Final: Cavaliers 112, Celtics 99 11:00 pm Tue

With that in mind, it'll be interesting to see if James and the Cavaliers are better prepared for it in Game 4 and beyond.

Welcome back to "3 Shots" as we take a look at the three biggest observations from the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

"That stings when you can't pull those out", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

The Celtics' heritage is championship basketball, back to the days when they won 11 NBA titles in 13 years behind Bill Russell. Defensively, he's been nothing like the player we saw working passing lanes and causing havoc. After all, Thomas was named to the second-team All-NBA this season, and Smart just filled in admirably for him in game three of the Celtics' Eastern Conference Finals series against the Cavs.

After the Cavs obliterated the Celtics, 130-86, in Game 2, it didn't seem like Boston could stand a chance against LeBron James, 32, Tristan Thompson, 26, and the rest of the Cleveland squad. It was the first time he had failed to reach 25 points scored during these playoffs.

According to ESPN NBA reporter Brian Windhorst, who witnessed the exchange, the heckler reportedly told LeBron "you can't have 11 points", prompting LeBron to ask the heckler what he'd done in his basketball career.

Did you know NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was so anxious about the league's TV ratings that he rang up LeBron James and told him to take it easy on the Celtics? Crowder stayed in the game to guard LeBron.

So, as his teammates struggled with their shots in the second half, James didn't ratchet up his aggression level to get buckets and in doing so, was just what the Celtics needed to get a much-needed victory.

"It wasn't tough to watch", he said as the Cavaliers prepared for Tuesday night's Game 4.

LeBron James has been brilliant these playoffs, certainly the greatest playoff run in recent memory and one of the greatest of all-time. They can't settle for being just good, which is why Thomas will be traded in a headliner deal to ultimately make them better.

'He's human': Cavs coach defends LeBron after 'weird' loss
Final: Cavaliers 112, Celtics 99 11:00 pm Tue

The Cavs blew a 21-point lead in Cleveland on Sunday, ultimately losing by a mere three points to the Boston Celtics. He disrupted so many Cavs possessions-all of which I remember vividly, because, again, I watched the game-that it's impossible to even pick one standout moment to highlight in a blog post.

Thomas planned to speak with doctors in Boston and NY, and may expand the process to other parts of the country as well. That has since been cut in half (17 percent) despite Sunday's thrilling win.

"We have guys who have chips on their shoulders", Stevens said.

"I thought he was really purposeful all night", Stevens said. Following a Celtics turnover, Irving and James got on the break.

The Cavs drew to within three, 61-58, after Kelly Olynyk picked up his fourth foul with 8:30 left in the third. A pair of Jonas Jerebko free throws made it a 66-58 game. An Irving layup cut the lead to one, 69-68. Bradley said. "We never counted ourselves out".

He didn't exactly slow down.

Avery Bradley scored 19 and Jae Crowder 18 for Boston. Irving eventually finished with 42 points.

HERE COMES THE CAVSThe Irving show continued in the third quarter. With.1 seconds left on the clock, there was no protest for the refs to put more time on the clock.

James closed it with 15 points in the fourth, including a 3-pointer with 3:52 remaining for a 106-97 lead. "Not just in the second half".

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