Steve Alexander

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Too much Kyrie in Game 4

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Kyrie Irving shook off a third-quarter sprained ankle, put on a show shortly thereafter and scored a playoff career-high 42 points, with 19 of them coming in a stretch of just 4:48 late in the third quarter as the Cavaliers beat the Celtics 112-99 in Cleveland to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night.

 

Irving hit six layups, two 3-pointers and a free throw during that run. LeBron James took over in the fourth quarter, after picking up four first-half fouls and his foul trouble helped the Celtics open up a 16-point lead early in the third quarter. But Irving went off to get his team back in the game, and then LeBron put it away in the fourth. Kevin Love hit a 3-pointer with an assist from LeBron to open up a 101-92 lead for the Cavs. Then LeBron hit Tristan Thompson with a sweet pass inside, which was followed by a Jonas Jerebko 3-pointer for Boston, cutting the Cavs’ lead to 103-97 and giving the Celtics some hope after Irving’s third-quarter bonanza. Then LeBron hit his first 3-pointer of the night for a 106-97 lead, and then went to the rack for two, opening up a 108-97 lead with just 3:15 to play in the game. James then hit a dagger jumper with 2:25 left, giving the Cavaliers a 110-97 lead with just 2:25 left on the clock. It was over. 

 

The Cavaliers were led by Irving’s 42 points, three rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers on 15-of-22 shooting, LeBron bounced back from Sunday’s disaster with 34 points, five rebounds, six dimes, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on 15-of-27 shooting, and Kevin Love came through with 17 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, a steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers on 6-of-13 shooting. The rest of the Cavs totaled just 19 points, all scored by Thompson, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Deron Williams, who overcame a shoulder stinger to give the Cavs 18 solid minutes. Kyle Korver played 20 minutes off the bench, but didn’t even attempt a shot, as he simply stood and watched LeBron, Kyrie and Love get it done for his team.

 

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The Celtics, hurting from the loss of point guard Isaiah Thomas, who may need hip surgery, put up a good fight and opened up a 16-point lead early in the third. But the Cavaliers saw Irving and James catch fire, and the rest was history. Avery Bradley led the way with 19 points, five boards, three assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 7-of-19 shooting, Jae Crowder had 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers on 6-of-12 shooting, and Al Horford added 16 points, seven assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 7-of-11 shooting. Kelly Olynyk, who drew the start over Amir Johnson (shoulder), came through with 15 points, five boards, three assists, a steal and two blocks on 7-of-14 shooting to round out the double-digit scoring for Boston. Game 3’s hero, Jonas Jerebko, and Jaylen Brown each scored nine points off the bench, Marcus Smart had eight points and six assists as a starter, despite hitting just 1-of-9 shots, and Terry Rozier had five points in 15 minutes off the bench.

 

The Warriors are waiting on the winner of this series to figure out when they might play again and are likely hoping for a Celtics win on Thursday night in Boston. That game will take place at 8:30 on TNT and my prediction is that the Cavs will put the Celtics out of their misery in that one.

 

Bring on the Cavs and Warriors, Version 3! In case you’ve been sleeping in a cave, the Cavs and Warriors have met in the last two NBA Finals, and are about to make it three-in-a-row!



Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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