Irving, James rally Cavs, take 3-1 lead over Celtics

Hazel Gray
May 25, 2017

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving gritted his teeth, tightened up his left sneaker and hopped to his feet. Catchphrases like "You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him" were rehashed, unfavorable comparisons to Space Jam were invoked but the Celtics stepped up in Game 3 to come away with one of the most unlikely victories in recent playoffs history. The Celtics didn't either.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (23) gets off a shot between Boston Celtics' Kelly Olynyk (41) and Jae Crowder (99) during the second half of Game 3 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Cleveland.

Luckily for Cavs fans, Irving returned to the game and is now leading the Cavs with 40 points, two rebounds, and three assists.

According to Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue, there's a reason for this.

The Cavs have a 3-1 series lead and will look to secure their third straight trip to the Finals with a win Thursday night in Boston. Smart was back to his usual self in Game 4, making just one of five 3-point attempts.

Not to mention, the Cavs have barely had to deal with Boston star Isaiah Thomas, who is done for the season with a hip injury.

While Irving's scoring ignited the Cavs' comeback, it was made possible thanks to Cleveland's defensive effort over the final 24 minutes.

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James scored just 11 points and committed six turnovers in Game 2 on Sunday night, when the Celtics overcame a 21-point deficit in the third quarter to pull off an upset the odds makers in Las Vegas said was the biggest in the National Basketball Association playoffs over the past 20 years.

At this point, things looked kind of bleak for the defending champs. He capped his blistering 19-point outburst with a three in the final second of the quarter and celebrated at midcourt by pretending to put two pistols back in his holster.

"Coming out of halftime I just wanted to be aggressive, lead my guys and leave it all out there on the floor", Irving said.

When the horn sounded, Cleveland's players poured off the bench to greet him. Irving stayed on the floor and finished the game, but with a day off between games there will be interest in how tender his ankle is at tipoff. The Celtics led 57-47 at the break.

Stevens said Thomas told him he's still sore and there is still significant inflammation in his hip. "I'm pretty sure I'll be sore when I get home". "Because they got a tough group over there". He elevated for a thunderous one-handed slam, but the ball ricocheted off of the rim.

Something else was going on in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals while Kyrie Irving was flying through the air with the greatest of ease on his way to a 21-point third quarter and a 42-point game.

If nothing else, Lue said their recent taste of adversity should help them remain humble heading into Game 5. James recorded four personal fouls in the first half for the first time in his career and was used sparingly in the rest of the match.

Other reports by VgToday

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