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Irving's 42 carry Cavs to win, 3-1 lead over Celtics
01 June 2017, 12:40 | Susie Olson
James has three National Basketball Association titles while Jordan has six. The Cavs set an National Basketball Association record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity.
The win sets up a third consecutive match-up with Western Conference champion Golden State, the team it beat in the finals last season to claim the franchise's first championship.
"I wear the number because of Mike", James said.
"The importance of a Game 4, especially the way we came out in Game 3, you know, 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 said.
"He's a special kid", James said of Irving. "That was my mindset".
Cleveland missed 13 of the 19 shots it attempted in the first quarter but finished hitting 38 of its final 55 attempts (69.1 percent).
LeBron James was far more assertive in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. It was the first time in his entire career he was called for four fouls in the first half of a game. This caused coach Tyronn Lue to have to sit him for the latter half of the second quarter.
"This team is a insane team". The Celtics reminded us how tough and gritty they are, pulling out a shocking Game 3 win on the road. The Golden State Warriors are waiting for them, after all.
After a pair of free throws from Love pushed the lead to 23 points, the Celtics trimmed it down to 18 with a 5-0 run, but the Cavaliers answered when guard Iman Shumpert made a two-point shot and Williams buried his second triple of the quarter.
If LeBron can play at this level for the remainder of the playoffs, the easier it will be to prove that Game 3 was an anomaly. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series.
"They can not. We can not go to Boston 2-2 and then it becomes nearly an even series".
Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates. They were even gifted with LeBron James foul trouble; he had four in the first half, something that's never happened before in his career (the jokes write themselves, to be honest). If he can't step up at the end, Irving certainly can.
Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver helped spread out Boston's defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities.
Kevin Love had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who bounced back from their only postseason loss.
James still finished with a strong stat line for the night - 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot. Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. The fantastic trio from OH scored 93 points combined.
LeBron shot a very efficient 7-for-11 in the 4th quarter, and made one of two three point attempts. Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing.
Game 5 in the series is on Thursday night in Boston.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said though he's disappointed with how the season ended, he's encouraged that no one in Boston's locker room is satisfied just making it to the conference finals. "And for us, our focus level has to be at an all-time high, and the little things that matter that's going to make the difference within the game".
Although the Celtics were without their first point guard, and the biggest star Isaiah Thomas, who is injured and who is going to miss the rest of the season, the boys from MA could shock the reigning champions once more after the previous game.
The two-time All-Star was sidelined in Game 2 after aggravating a hip injury.
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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. In the lottery era, four guards have been selected No. 1 overall : Allen Iverson, John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose.
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No one was caught by the fire, as the building had been evacuated earlier in the day, but 49 got injured in the confrontations. Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said the army will leave the streets considering that the order has returned to the city now.
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The game was played at a frenetic pace as both teams went looking to win the final piece of silverware of the season. They are a big club that has had a change and now needs someone who can organise: someone who has been at a big club.