Gritty Celtics stun Cavaliers to reduce series deficit

Ross Houston
May 23, 2017

Bradley, who finished Game 3 with 20 points, said after Boston's embarrassing loss on Friday night in Game 2 that they'd find out who the Celtics really were based on how they bounced back the rest of the series. 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. In the first half, all the signs were there of another blowout.

Cleveland, looking to tie an National Basketball Association record with an 11th consecutive postseason win, led 77-56 with 6:39 left in the third quarter, before the Celtics came rushing back thanks to the three-point shooting of Marcus Smart. A game we should have won, but they played hard. Joel Anthony had to take a free throw in place of Lee, who was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair. But he's never had a game even approaching this level of three-point excellence.

The Celtics caught the Cavs at 95-all on Smart's 3-pointer and then matched the James and Co. basket for basket in the final minutes in one of the most entertaining games of what has been a mostly boring postseason. He had six rebounds and six assists, but also committed six turnovers, including a costly miscue down the stretch when his pass was stolen by Jae Crowder. Love made 7-of-10 3-pointers in the first half and led all scorers with 22 points at the break.

Al Horford added 16 points and Kelly Olynyk contributed 15 off the bench for the Celtics, who were beaten by an average of 28.5 points in the first two games.

Bradley has two go-ahead field goals in the final 10 seconds of a game in his career and both have come in Cleveland (he also hit a game-winner here in February 2016).

It has to be said.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - LeBron James was nowhere to be seen, staying behind the scenes, keeping a low profile.

Cavs' superstar LeBron James had a rare off night with 11 points on 4-13 shooting, to go along with six rebounds and six assists. He simply seemed disconnected from the game. It was the first time in 11 games in this postseason in which he scored fewer than 25. "We're going be the toughest team. We have to regroup and get back to playing desperate basketball". You saw that tonight. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with Cleveland, which leads Boston 2-1 in the East finals.

Much like what the New York Knicks in the 1999 NBA Playoffs, we may have witnessed a prime example of the "Ewing Theory" today; a concept coined by a close friend of iconic Boston homer; Bill Simmons.

That game was an example of Thomas battling through the pain he was suffering as the Celtics would end up clinching the series in seven games. It's the Eastern Conference finals. With the series tied up 1-1, star center Patrick Ewing tore his achilles and was set to miss the remainder of the playoffs.

That, combined with having won a pair of national championships when he played at the University of Florida, serves as a reminder that the 30-year-old has been on the winning ledger of big games before. "But we have to play a lot better in Game 4". The Cavs had a 13-game unbeaten streak going with James in top form, on the verge of penciling in his name above those of Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the playoff record books.

Other reports by iNewsToday