Irving's 42 carries Cavaliers past Celtics

Elias Hubbard
May 25, 2017

In the first half, the Cavs looked great: Love and Irving combined for what felt like 100 three-pointers, Boston continued to miss their half-decent looks, and Cleveland led by 16. It left an opportunity ripe for the Celtics to pick apart a Cavaliers team without its leader on the floor and extend a double-digit lead to distances unknown. The Celtics watched the Cavaliers cut the deficit down to single digits. Little did they know that the Cavaliers' other superstar was about to seize it, and perhaps the series too. "You always come around when we lose, I swear".

James' performance was the major talking point after Sunday's defeat, with the Cavs star finishing with just 11 points on four-of-13 shooting.

Certainly, The Celtics took a different approach without Thomas. When he gets going like that, he's tough to stop. That's common sense, right?

Irving was down holding his foot for a while and even was examined.

The series resumes Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena before returning to Boston on Thursday for a Game 5 that didn't appear necessary until the Celtics stormed back from 21 down and won when Avery Bradley's 3-pointer danced an Irish jig on the rim before falling with 0.01 seconds left.

In the final 5:11 of the first half, Irving scored 12 of the team's 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

James, who finished with 34 points, was joined in double figures by Kevin Love, who scored 17 points with 17 rebounds and five assists.

James, who was a surprising dud in Boston's Game 3 win, had 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the half. It was a franchise record for scoring in one quarter of a playoff game. However, the Cavs just fell back into their regular season habits of pounding the ball for 20 seconds and failing to account for the open man on defense.

"Coming out of halftime I just wanted to be aggressive, lead my guys and leave it all out there on the floor", Irving said. "But we definitely understand that this (Boston) team is not going to quit, they're going to fight, they're going to compete".

Like, y'know, LeBron James. He makes the right play over and over, and he thinks the game, he sees the game.

Horford only had two fouls at the moment.

It seemed an opportune time to build on the lead and put a genuine scare into a goofy Cleveland crowd that relies on scoreboard prompts such as Ben Roethlisberger photos as cues to cheer and boo.

And the Celtics just don't have enough firepower. "You take it hard when you go home, but then the next day, you wake up and it's a new day".

Kyrie Irving takes a jumper during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics on May 23. Jonas Jerebko and Jaylen Brown each had nine points off the bench.

Bad enough that the Cavaliers' superstar, a.k.a., "not an MVP finalist this year", had taken hits for almost 48 hours by tipoff Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena. But quite simply, Irving's spectacular game does not invalidate James' play. Perhaps this loss will give the team just what it needs as we get closer to that Finals rematch. Defensively, they also look more cohesive without Thomas. Feeding off of their defensive intensity, the Cavs played offense at a torrid pace, pushing the ball at every chance they could get. The Celtics couldn't separate themselves from a Cavaliers team with James on the bench for nearly seven minutes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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