Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas visits specialist, surgery undecided

Ross Houston
May 26, 2017

That honor belonged to Kyrie Irving, who picked up his team when James went to the bench in the second quarter with four fouls. As a team, the Cavs shot a healthy 59 percent from the field and 10 of 22 from the three-point line, but they trailed for most of the game until Irving put the team on his back in the second half.

"In the back of my mind, I was like, I'm saying to myself, 'We can not - they can not tie up this series, '" Irving told reporters.

"We're humble enough to know we haven't played well at home, and we want to give our home crowd a better outing than we did the past two games", Jae Crowder said.

Kevin Love added 17 points and a career play-off-high 17 rebounds for Cleveland. Avery Bradley led the team in scoring with 19 points, Al Horford chipped in with 16 points and seven assists while Kelly Olynyk had 15 points.

The Celtics, who are already missing top scorer Isaiah Thomas, could also be without forward Jaylen Brown for Game 5; the rookie is questionable with a hip pointer. The C's also kept things close in Game 4, but Kyrie Irving's heroics vaulted the Cavs to another double-digit victory.

James bounced back with the type of dominant night that typified his production during the Cavs' 10-0 start to the playoffs and more than made up for his 11-point clunker Sunday.

Stevens reiterated before Game 4 that Thomas will not play again this season, even if the Celtics push the defending champion Cavaliers beyond five games in the Eastern Conference finals. Cleveland came back in the second half to win, but it wasn't hard to see in either game that Boston was far more stout defensively when it wasn't having to constantly find a place to hide Thomas - something Stevens virtually always must do when he's on the court.

Ankle grab Irving did not show any noticeable limp following the game as he walked down the hallway, stopping to hug and kiss friends and family following his performance.

"In the back of my mind I'm saying to myself, 'They can not tie up this series, ' " Irving said of the Celtics after Game 4.

It was the latter that head coach Tyronn Lue had fun with following the Cavs' Game 4 win on Tuesday. Both Irving and Love had it going in the Game 2 rout, and Game 5 might be yet another one-sided affair at TD Garden.

Irving scored 36 points after that, including 21 during a game-turning third quarter in which Cleveland outscored Boston 40-23.

In his first three seasons, the Cavs' first overall pick in 2011 might not have done the same.

For six minutes and 46 seconds in the second quarter of Game 4, LeBron James wasn't on the floor. All of that was before his remarkable run during these National Basketball Association playoffs, when he played through the tragic death of his sister and repeated health issues - including multiple dental procedures and an ongoing hip injury - to lead Boston back to the conference finals. We were really good defensively.

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