3 SHOTS | 3 first half observations from Cleveland Cavaliers-Boston Celtics Game 4
Welcome back to '3 Shots' as we take a look at the three biggest observations from the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The beat goes on at the Q as the Celtics controlled the first half and lead the Wine and Gold, 57-47. Boston is 24 minutes away from going back to the Garden with a 2-2 series tie, which seemed inconceivable at halftime on Sunday.
1. Can we have our King back?
Look I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I don't know if LeBron James is tired, sick, injured, or what. But clearly something is not right with the four-time MVP in this last game-and-a-half.
The LeBron James we saw this postseason scored at least 30 points in eight straight games, was aggressive, decisive, and was averaging 9 rebounds and 7 assists in addition to being a scoring machine.
In Game 3, he didn't score in the final 16 minutes. He had as many turnovers (6) as he did rebounds. Tonight, he came out and settled for a couple of three point shots instead of driving to the basket and creating opportunities. Defensively, he's been nothing like the player we saw working passing lanes and causing havoc.
And then, there were the fouls....
2. Ty Lue's gamble
Yes, a couple of the offensive fouls on James were ticky-tack, but with 8:55 to play in the 2nd quarter, he picked up his third foul. Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue opted to leave LeBron in the game and it backfired. James drew a charge with 6:46 to play and had to sit out the remainder of the first half after picking up his fourth foul. Had it not been for Kyrie Irving going on a personal 10-2 run, the deficit would have been worse than 10.
But now James will have to be weary about taking to the basket and being aggressive knowing that he is in major foul trouble.
3. Where is the bench?
There's good reason for us to question why LeBron James has been struggling in Games 3 & 4, but other members of this team are not carrying their weight. Namely, the bench.
In the first two games this series, the Cavs reserves averaged 27.5 points. They managed just nine points in Game 3 and so far, Iman Shumpert's five points is all they've been able to muster. When you go back to the Toronto series, the Bench Bunch averaged 29 points per game. Just another oddity.
Why have we not seen Channing Frye in this series (with the exception of garbage time in Game 2)? Where has Kyle Korver's deadly 3-point shooting gone? Someone other than a member of the Big 3 needs to provide some punch.