Bradley, Thomas-Less Celtics Shock Cavs in Game 3
LeBron James is mortal!
The man who has dominated every single postseason game to this point looked tired and in need of a break. The minutes seemed to have caught up to him and James finished the night with just 11-points on 4-for-13 shooting.
“I had a tough game, period,” James said. “Not just in the second half. Me personally, I didn’t have it. My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game, building that lead. But me personally, I didn’t have it. That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.”
Yes, until Game 4 the Cavs and most notably LeBron will be buried by many different people in the media.
How can LeBron let a 21-point lead slip? How did the Cleveland Cavaliers turn into the Cleveland Browns in the 4th quarter? How did LeBron play so poorly?
Not only does this single win for the Celtics have no effect on the outcome of this series other than it just may go one more game, it is disrespectful to begin with. Sure, losing a 21-point lead is a horrible way to lose a game, and yes taking the foot off the pedal letting the Isaiah Thomas-less Celtics come back and win is inexcusable.
At the end of the day. A loss is a loss. And after winning 10-straight playoff games, a playoff loss will eventually come. Even the best teams cannot play sound 48-minutes of basketball every single night out. It’s part of being human.
That being said, a lot of credit must go to the Celtics.
After losing by nearly 50-points and losing their start point guard, it would’ve been easy to fold. But overcoming a 29-point game from Kyrie Irving and a 28-point night from Kevin Love, the Celtics were able to make this a series again behind a fierce comeback and an Avery Bradley buzzer-beating three.
“I don’t want to act like we’ve figured anything out,” Head Coach Brad Stevens said.
Stevens hit the nail on the head. As the Celtics now prepare for Game 4, it is evident that they will see a different LeBron James and a different Cleveland Cavaliers team. Stevens will have to ready himself for the Cavaliers ‘clap back’.
A big part of the Cavalier falter was their three-point shooting, which is always a deadly aspect to the Cavs offensive attack. After shooting 63.6% from three in the first half, the Cavs shot 2-for-17 in half number two, allowing the Celtics to creep closer and ultimately pick up the victory.
“Only making two threes in the second half, scoring 21 in the third and 21 in the fourth, that’s not us offensively,” Cavs coach Ty Lue said. “Not shooting the basketball well, not scoring well, it happens. But when that happens, you’ve got to be able to get stops, especially being up 20 points.”
Ball is now in the Cavs court as we await to see how they rebound. The Celtics best be ready for what should be a hungry team in Game 4.