Cleveland, stunned by Boston in Game 3 after romping two blowout wins in the opening two games of the Eastern Conference series, looked to be heading for another shock as the Celtics dominated the first half.
The most noteworthy moment of the one-sided affair occurred with 2:40 to play in the third, when James surpassed Michael Jordan as the NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader with a 3-point shot from the left of the key.
Already without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics may be without another key contributor when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden. But Boston players acknowledged there is still work to be done to catch the Cavaliers. Both clubs have found their groove offensively, especially the Cavs who are fresh off a game in which they shot 59.5 percent from the field. If Irving keeps playing like this, they won't have many problems. 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. The Cavs will need to match the Celtics urgency in order to close out a pesky opponent.
Avery Bradley one game.
After the Celtics took their 16-point lead with James on the bench in the second quarter, James and Irving combined to outscore the Celtics 60-50 the rest of the way. The Cavs will likely tag team Bradley with a combination of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in hopes to slow him down.
"We have to go in with a bunker mentality that we had in Game 1 and Game 2, to go out and do what we do, but we have to defend", James said.More news: Jared Kushner met with Russian bank that planted spies in U.S
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When it comes to slamming the door shut on opponents in the playoffs, the Cavs have been fantastic. When I started playing the game, I was like 'If I'm not scoring the basketball how can I still make an impact on the game?' and that's carried me all the way to this point now.
After Game 4 - a much better game for James, as he scored 15 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter of a 112-99 win - teammate Richard Jefferson suggested James was under the weather the previous game.
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. Boston does well when their backs are against the wall and Game 5 is no exception.
The Cavs turned things around in grandiose fashion on Tuesday night.
Boston will definitely come to play and play physical.
"We played as well as we'd played in the entire playoffs in the first half and then for various reasons that didn't happen in the second half".