Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers - 5/23/17 NBA Playoffs Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Ross Houston
May 26, 2017

Cleveland not only surrendered a 21-point lead in but blew chances to set a play-off record for consecutive wins (14), dating to Game Five of last year's National Basketball Association finals, and to become the fourth team in history to start the playoffs 11-0.

James exchanged words with a fan late Sunday night after the Boston Celtics stormed back from a 21-point deficit in the third quarter and shocked the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics will try to pick up another big upset in Game 4 facing the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

It was James' lowest point total in the playoffs since he scored seven for Miami in the 2014 conference finals against in, and before Boston's comeback, James was 49-0 in playoff games his team led by at last 20 points. It's the second time he's failed to score in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, joining Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - LeBron James had that look - faraway, yet focused.

Cavaliers: Irving scored 41 in Game 5 of last year's Finals. Despite Cleveland winning the second game of the series by 44 points, when it came to yesterday, the Celtics left Cleveland to points unanswered for.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was initially unaware that his players had called Thomas but was greeted by a text from Thomas when he turned on his cellphone after the game. They lost the first two games by a combined 57 points.

But James wasn't himself Sunday night, not by a long stretch.

"He's got to be aggressive, get downhill, play like he's been playing, play confident", said Cavaliers teammate and friend J.R. Smith, who scored 13 points with eight rebounds in Game 3. "I've been confident every time I've stepped on the court". For a guy who's played great for five straight months, he's got to have a bad game sooner or later. "We needed everything tonight".

"In the back of my mind, I thought, 'They can't tie up the series, '" he said. The Cavaliers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Conference Finals games and 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall. He's now scored less than 15 points in six career postseason games. "We understand not only him but Kyrie (Irving) are going to make tough shots".

"No message", Lue said.

Lue said James was "in good spirits" and that no one was pinning the loss on him. If it was going to happen, let it happen now; let us regroup. The Cavs are better off getting that bad game of their chest when they still are in such a good position. He's human. He didn't shoot the ball well.

At game four, the Cavs could very well "take the Celtics apart", especially considering Boston's star player is out due to an injury.

It was no ordinary defeat, however, as the Cavs blew a 21-point lead after they entered the game as 16-point favorites at home. But Kevin (Love) and Kyrie (Irving) had it going early and they played well, so it kind of got him out of rhythm a little bit in that first half.

"Once we were able to get together (May 20), we decided we're just going to play hard - whatever happens, happens", Bradley said.

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