11:02 p.m.-CAVALIERS FALL TO CELTICS IN GAME 3 OF EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
CLEVELAND -- At first, the three-point shot was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ greatest asset, but when needed most, they could not summon any makes from long distance, and it cost them dearly in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
A last-second three-pointer from guard Avery Bradley gave the Boston Celtics a 111-108 win over the Cavaliers in Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena Sunday night.
After making 14 of their first 22 looks from long distance, the Cavaliers made just two of their 11 looks from three-point range in the fourth quarter, both from shooting guard J.R. Smith over the last five-plus minutes of play, and two of just 17 following the halftime break. Conversely, the Celtics buried five of their 11 three-point tries in the fourth quarter.
All five of the Cavaliers’ starters scored in double figures, led by point guard Kyrie Irving (29 points) and power forward Kevin Love (28), who added 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
Center Tristan Thompson finished off a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Known for his efforts on defense and rebounding, Thompson went 12 of 15 from the free-throw line and three of four from the field.
Small forward LeBron James and Smith added 11 and 13 points, respectively.
Although the Cavaliers got production out of the starting lineup, they had no answer for Boston’s bench, as Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko combined for 25 points. As a whole, Boston’s reserves outscored the Cavaliers bench, 32-9.
Despite the loss, the Cavaliers still hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series heading into Tuesday’s Game 4 matchup in Cleveland.
10:20 p.m.-CELTICS OUTSCORE CAVS BY 11 IN THIRD QUARTER
CLEVELAND -- Down by as many as 21 points after a basket from Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson with 6:39 to play in the third quarter, the Boston Celtics stormed back and cut the deficit to just five, 87-82, heading into the fourth period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Celtics finished out the third quarter on a 26-10 run over the final six-plus minutes and outpaced the Cavaliers, 32-21, out of the halftime break.
Boston knocked down 11 of its 24 looks from the field, including six of 11 from three-point range, while the Cavaliers made only five of their 18 attempts and missed all six of their triple tries in the third quarter of play.
The Cavaliers’ “Big Three” of small forward LeBron James, point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love combined for just 13 points in the third quarter after having 47 in the first half.
9:32 p.m.-CAVALIERS LEAD BY 16 AT THE HALF
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers found their shooting rhythm late in the second quarter, and it helped them balloon their lead over the Boston Celtics to 16 points, 66-50, at halftime of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena.
To start the second quarter, the Cavaliers went with a small lineup that featured small forward LeBron James at center, as he was on the floor with guards Deron Williams, Kyle Korver and Iman Shumpert, as well as forward Richard Jefferson, but James acted as a point-forward and was not attacking the basket.
Shumpert knocked down a pair of mid-range jumpers for Cleveland’s first baskets of the quarter, and Korver followed up one minute later with a 24-foot three-pointer from the left corner of the floor, a shot that gave the Cavaliers a 42-29 lead with 9:37 to play in the half.
After a nearly 90-second scoring drought, the Cavaliers got back on the scoreboard when Williams fed an inbounds pass to James as he glided toward the hoop for an alley-oop dunk that brought the home crowd to its feet.
Three minutes later, James answered a Celtics three-pointer with a triple of his own, which put the Cavaliers back in front by double digits, 47-36.
Over the final four-plus minutes of the half, the Cavaliers outscored the Celtics, 19-14, and power forward Kevin Love again played a big role in the run, as he knocked down two triples from the left of the lane. Then, on an outlet pass, Love found James for a contested layup.
From the top of the key, shooting guard J.R. Smith buried a triple with 21.9 seconds left, and that ballooned the advantage out to 18 points, 66-48.
8:57 p.m.-CAVALIERS USE TRIPLES TO BUILD FIRST-QUARTER LEAD
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers came out shooting and three-pointers proved to be their favorite, and most effective weapon in the first quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena Sunday night.
Led by five triples from power forward Kevin Love, the Cavaliers knocked down nine of their 13 looks from three-point range (69.2 percent) and hit 11 of their 17 overall shots from the field on the way to a 35-24 lead after the first quarter.
Thanks to their three-point shooting, the Cavaliers started the game on a 14-7 run. Four of the Cavaliers’ first five baskets were three-pointers, and the fifth came on an alley-oop dunk from center Tristan Thompson after a pick-and-roll with point guard Kyrie Irving.
Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith got things going when he buried a three-pointer from the left corner of the floor on the first possession of the game. Then, after a missed shot and a turnover, Love knocked down a triple from the left wing.
Love followed with a three-pointer than gave the Cavaliers a 6-5 lead, and they never trailed again.
Irving extended the advantage when he sunk a three-pointer from the right wing, and following the dunk from Thompson, Love hit another triple, which gave the Cavaliers a 14-7 lead and forced the Celtics into a full timeout.
Over the next four-plus minutes, the Cavaliers matched the Celtics, basket for basket, as they each tallied 12 points.Love and Irving each buried three-pointers during that stretch, and following the exchange, Irving swished three free throws after drawing a foul on a triple attempt from the right wing.
The Cleveland Cavaliers return home to Quicken Loans Arena for Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals after a successful road trip to Boston for the opening contests of the best-of-seven series against the Celtics.
Even after handling the Celtics in Game 1 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, small forward LeBron James felt the Cleveland Cavaliers could play better, and maybe, just maybe he was onto something.
The Cavaliers stormed out to a 40-point lead in the first half and never looked back, as they closed out a 130-86 victory at TD Garden in Boston, which gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series heading into Game 3 tonight.
The 130 points were a single-game franchise record in postseason play.
The Cavaliers were so dominant in the first three quarters that “The Big Three” of James, point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love did not play a single second in the fourth quarter. In fact, they were pulled with 76 seconds left in the third quarter.
As he did in Game 1, James led the way for the Cavaliers in Game 2, as he scored a game-high 30 points with a 12-of-18 shooting performance. James buried four of his six looks from three-point range and went eight for 12 inside the arc.
Additionally, James pulled down four rebounds, handed out seven assists, stole four passes and blocked three shots over 33 minutes. James was a plus-45 in the lopsided victory, and he got plenty of help in the scoring department.
Irving more than doubled his Game 1 total of 11 points with 23 by knocking down eight of his 11 attempts, including three three-pointers. Irving added one rebound, three assists, one steal and a blocked shot in 30 minutes.
Thanks in part to his four three-pointers, Love accounted for 21 points and registered a double-double by corralling 12 rebounds, including three on the offensive end of the floor.
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