CLEVELAND - Wow! It certainly wasn't easy, but the Cavaliers will take it as they rallied to beat the Celtics, 112-99, to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are our '3 Shots' from the second half:
1. A performance for the ages by Kyrie Irving
I can't say enough about the performance put on by the Cavaliers' point guard. He scored a playoff career-high 42 points to lead the Wine and Gold out of their rut and back into command of the series.
Irving's stat line read 15-22 from the field, including 4-7 from beyond the 3-point line. He was 8-9 from the free throw line. And he did a lot of his damage after sustaining an ankle injury midway through a furious third quarter in which he scored 21 points, including 14 in a row. He capped it off with this beauty to close out the 3rd:
Kyrie Irving... from DEEP! pic.twitter.com/Q3QS9HcwVH— NBA (@NBA) May 24, 2017
It reminded me of Isiah Thomas' legendary 25-point performance in one quarter during the 1988 NBA Finals against the Lakers. Zeke also was playing on a bad ankle that day at the Forum.
Check out this stat posted by KORE Software's Jacob L. Rosen at the end of the 3rd Quarter. This is some next level mathematics!
It was once 49-33 Celtics at 5:30 mark in second quarter.— Jacob L. Rosen (@JacobLRosen) May 24, 2017
Kyrie Irving 33
Rest of Cavs 21
Tonight ranks right along with Irving's 41 point performance in Game 5 of last year's NBA Finals as the best of Kyrie's career.
Let's just hope the ankle holds up.
2. LeBron found his second wind
Whatever has been wrong with James was fixed in the fourth quarter tonight. After Kyrie got the Cavs the lead late in the 3rd quarter, LeBron took over the final 12 minutes, scoring 15 of his 34 points. He went inside and outside and seemed to find that gear that had been missing since Friday night's dominating win in Boston. More to come on the King during 'LeBron James Says.'
3. Kevin Love did the little things
The Cavs forward has been dazzling with his shooting in this series, but tonight, I thought it was the stuff you don't see staring at you on the stat sheet that made the biggest impact. He pulled down a playoff career-high 17 rebounds, had two blocked shots, and added 5 assists to go with his 17 points. Total it all up and the Big 3 accounted for 91 points, 24 rebounds, and 15 assists.
It will also be interesting to see how Love feels tomorrow. He, like Irving, came up with a twisted ankle during the second half.
© 2017 WKYC-TV