Gritty Celtics stun Cavaliers to reduce series deficit

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas looks to pass the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert left defends during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals Friday

Irving took over in the second half and finished with 42 points, LeBron James added 34 and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of an nearly inevitable third date in the Finals with Golden State by rallying to beat Boston 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Then, in the fourth, Boston finally tied the game mid-way through the period. He went 7-of-13 from beyond the arc, but like the rest of his teammates cooled off significantly in the second half. "I didn't have it". Those guys made plays. Boston was motivated to atone for its terrible Game 2, but the Celtics are still terribly shorthanded and faced with tough matchups all over the court. The mysterious, low-energy Game 5 against the Celtics in 2010, in which he was a stunning nonfactor.

To be fair, there was little the Cleveland Cavaliers could do that could top what they did to the Boston Celtics during Game 2.

"They called them", he said of the officials. He's never been hotter. They were without Isaiah Thomas and on the road. "Attack them right back".

James got beat on rebounds.

Cleveland started playing tight and the Celtics closed within five points at the end of the third quarter.

To be sure, the Celtics were fantastic down the stretch.

Now we know that there will at least be a Game 5 in Boston before the season is over.

Step to the fore Marcus Smart, the hard-nosed Celtics guard setting the table for the unlikely comeback with an enormous second half performance, posting 27 points including seven three-pointers coupled with some critical defensive plays to spearhead his side's win. Then, with less than three minutes remaining, Bradley nailed a three-pointer to make the game 84-75.

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"His X-rays and all of the information that they gathered is being sent to another specialist", Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to Tuesday's game in Cleveland.

"We were playing way better".

But then, I didn't know Michael Jordan's first retirement was actually a "secret suspension" imposed by former Commissioner David Stern for gambling.

"You have to have some type of adversity to be successful", James said. On this night, James' supporting cast could not be blamed.

It wasn't enough to knock Boston on its heels during Game 3, however. Cleveland drained nine three-pointers in the first quarter alone, and led 77-56 midway through the third frame, before Boston made a game out of it.

Jerebko delivered the kind of energy and abandon the Celtics had been missing. He also had six rebounds, six assists and six turnovers. It seemed to help turn the tide. It was just the second time in his playoff career he played the entire fourth quarter and failed to score, the last time being that infamous eight-point game in 2011. On his way to the postgame news conference, the superstar got into an exchange with a fan who heckled him about his rough night.

"He's human, so he's going to have a night like this", said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue. They led by as many as 18 points during the opening two quarters and pulled ahead 66-50 at the break.

“We decided were going to go out and play hard, swinging.” Bradley said. “As good as they are and they are tremendous, that might have been the best game Ive ever seen a team play against us, ” he said.

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