Irving took over in the second half and finished with 42 points despite playing on a tender ankle, LeBron James added 34 and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of an nearly inevitable third date in the NBA Finals with Golden State by rallying to beat Boston 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
James, determined to bounce back after a poor 11-point haul in Game 3, then steadied the Cleveland nerves in the fourth quarter, bringing the Cavaliers home for the win as Boston's courageous effort came up short.
The Cavs will win 119-98 and wrap the series up in five games, James passes Jordan as the all-time leader in postseason scoring with 37 points. The Cavaliers won Game 4 on Tuesday over the Celtics 112-99.
He scored just 11 points - zero in the final 16 minutes - as the Cleveland Cavaliers blew a 21-point lead and lost 111-108 to Boston in the Eastern Conference finals.
The win clinches Cleveland's third straight Eastern Conference title while their superstar LeBron James returns to the NBA Finals for the 7th consecutive year.More news: Wenger set to sign new two-year Arsenal deal
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With the home crowd behind them, the Celtics are hoping to push Cleveland to the limit and perhaps force a Game 6.
Boston powered into a 29-19 first quarter lead and maintained their 10-point cushion through to half-time, leading 57-47 at the break. For a young and mostly unproven club like the Celtics, having the home fans on their side should provide an extra spark, a little added adrenaline. We'll need all the help we can get if we hope to extend this series and put off the offseason.
"They were coming out and hitting us and they didn't care who we are". They showed in the first half of Game 5 that they weren't playing around.
So it's worth noting that James needed 33 more games to surpass Jordan, but he took the record at a younger age - James is 32 and Jordan was 35. Stevens said Thomas may consult with two additional specialists. "We're a young team; this is our first time". "We're humble enough to know that 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", forward Jae Crowder told reporters.
We're definitely disappointed. I feel like if we weren't, there would be a problem.
Here's what we learned from Game 4.
By this point it was clear there would be no comeback a la Game 3. "Even myself, I'm 25 - I'm in year six going into year seven next year - but I've seen a lot in this league". It was no exaggeration to say the next 24 minutes could define the Eastern Conference finals and, by extension, the Cavaliers' chances of repeating as National Basketball Association champions.