LeBron James has historically unproductive Game 3

Ross Houston
May 26, 2017

Ben Franklin probably was lucky he didn't zap himself with that kite-and-a-key stunt of his and so are we, because his reckless experiment led to the development of lightning rods.

And apparently LeBron James is human.

Deron Williams, who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland. Cleveland inbounded the ball, didn't even bother to throw up a prayer that wouldn't have counted anyway, and walked off unlikely losers on their home court to an inferior team.

Every so often, that pays off and one of them does for him what he frequently does for them.

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.

Boston exploded for a 55-31 run to end the game after the Celtics trailed by 21 with almost 6 minutes to play in the third quarter marking the largest blown lead in a playoff game by a James-led team.

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver helped spread out Boston's defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities. They all know not to expect the same, unusually tame James in Game 4. One, two, three. four? A lineup anchored by Marcus Smart displayed uncharacteristic patience. In his first trip to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat, LeBron was criticized for his passive play. He finished with 10 points.

James's disappearing act was the real reason Boston had a chance to win.

James' run of playoff games with at least 30 points ended at eight.

James said reviewing the film from Game 3 was not "tough to watch" because it was clear what changed the game in the second half.

The urgency at that point hung over the Cavaliers like their "Humongotron" scoreboard.

"I don't want to act like we've figured anything out", Stevens said. "But I'm kind of glad it happened the way it did".

"Just with him rebounding the basketball, being aggressive, going in the trenches getting defensive rebounds was big for us because he's the best outlet guy in the league and when he rebounds, he can get it to LeBron or Kyrie and he can push our pace". Feeling that type of appreciation, love, respect.

Game 4 is Tuesday night in Cleveland. But the point guard did, and did. However, in the second half, the Cavaliers fell asleep on both ends of the floor.

"He was built for these moments", James said.

So it was time. Boston failed twice to beat the Cavaliers as they hosted them in TD Garden for the first two games of the series, but they did defeat Cleveland in their territory yesterday. A minute later, he drove for a layup.

Irving put a scare into the Cavs and their fans when he stepped on Terry Rozier's foot and rolled his ankle. Irving crumped on the baseline, the folks at The Q enduring the "oh no, he's hurt!" dread for about 15 seconds before he popped up.

Cavaliers: The 42 points were a career playoff-high for Irving, who scored 41 in Game 5 of last year's Finals.

Still, if James can win a four title, and potentially a fourth Finals MVP trophy, he will break his tie with Magic Johnson and join a group that only includes Russell, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"Nothing", James said, though he meant "nothing new". "As of tonight, I'll get started". "I've been saying he's a special kid, a special talent". He's a special talent. They remain undefeated in the playoffs, while Cleveland suffered their first loss of the postseason in Game 3.

Boston couldn't hang on, though, largely because of Irving and James.

Thomas season came to an end on the spot.

Bovada includes many other potential bets for Celtics-Cavs Game 4, including over/unders. If you didn't see the game (I did), you'll just have to take my word for it. "We're the better team.' They just coasted and it came back to bite them". I've always leaned on my teammates at times as well. "Me personally, I didn't have it...that's what I have to say about my performance".

Obsessing about the future, though, is no more helpful than dwelling on the past. "He sent everybody a text, and then Kelly [Olynyk] just called him, or he might have been calling Kelly right after the game, so it was nice to see a smile on his face".

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