Thursday, 15 November, 2018

LeBron struggles, exchanges words with fan after Game 3 loss

Celtics to start Smart in place of Thomas LeBron struggles, exchanges words with fan after Game 3 loss
Frederick Owens | 24 May, 2017, 07:06

They out-worked the Cavs, and the guy you wouldn't expect to hit the big shot at the end did, even if Avery Bradley's three from the wing bounced on the rim 50 times before somehow dropping in.

Trailing 77-56 with 6:39 remaining in the third quarter at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena, the Celtics engineered a most stunning comeback, the second that National Basketball Association fans have witnessed in as many Sundays in May.

"He's going to be aggressive", said Boston's Avery Bradley. I think it's great - what happened hurts. "Everybody had to step up their game, especially with one of our brothers down", Smart told reporters. "We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we got some things we can correct and come back ready to go on Tuesday (in Game 4)".

"That's no excuse. They played well, but we've just got to play better, be more physical". "Everybody did their part". The Cavaliers dropped to 10-1 in the postseason with their first loss since Game 4 of last year's Finals.

Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a game I definitely watched, was one for the ages.

As he walked down a hallway inside Quicken Loans Arena to the postgame news conference, James, who scored just 11 points and only one in the final 18 minutes, was heckled by the fan for his sub-par outing. "You let a team like that grab momentum you nearly knew a shot like that was going in".

Without injured star Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs will surrender in four straight and the hubbub over James' miserable Game 3 showing guarantees he won't disappear in the series again.

"You obviously hear people saying that it's all about how you respond, and we don't feel like people believed in us and counted us out", Bradley said. "I mean, what do you want me to say?"

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Boston's Jonas Jerebko's baseline jumper put the Celtics ahead 108-106 with 30 seconds left before Irving scored on a drive to tie it with 10.7 seconds left.

"He's such an unselfish player", Stevens said. Cleveland was hoping to keep pace with Golden State, which entered Monday's game having won 11 straight games to open the 2017 playoffs.

The loss snapped the Cavs' flawless 10-0 start to the postseason, which James said can be a good thing in preparing Cleveland for its ultimate goal of back-to-back championships. Historically, teams that trail 2-1 in the conference finals despite starting the series with home-court advantage have a 10-22 record in the series - giving Boston, at best, a 31 percent chance at completing the unlikely comeback. They scrapped. They have a scrappy team. "We've got to be a lot better for sure".

The series now shifts to Boston, where the two teams will face off at TD Garden in a pivotal Game 5 on Thursday. The Celtics usually turn to Thomas when they need to knock away a huge deficit.

Coach Brad Stevens and guard Marcus Smart, the same Marcus Smart who oftentimes resembles the most frustrating athlete in Boston pro sports. My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game and building that lead.

Cavaliers: James needs 62 points to pass Michael Jordan as the top scorer in postseason history.

When Tyronn Lue took over as the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach in January 2016, he immediately began talking about playing with pace and he hasn't stopped since. "That was a tight group", he said. Cleveland does not lead the 2-0 anymore. Down 21 on the road with Isaiah Thomas in street clothes, the Celtics did not roll over - they crashed the glass and pushed the pace when they could, their threes started to fall, and the Celtics just outworked the Cavaliers.

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