Avery Bradley Shocks The Cavs

As the Cleveland Cavaliers gear up for Game 4 in their conference finals against the Boston Celtics, there is a different atmosphere.

The world forgot about Kyrie Irving.

Boston's comeback was fueled by Thomas' replacement, Marcus Smart, who made 7 of 10 3-pointers and scored 27 points. "I'm not going to criticize him one bit", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after his team won on a late three-point shot by Avery Bradley. We've got to be better, but there's nothing wrong with being confident and feeling good. James spun around and asked the man to repeat himself.

The Celtics, who are known for having multiple defensive stoppers on the perimeter, witnessed that fact first-hand. "We didn't play with that same pace and that same power and speed that we've been playing with the first two games".

I don't really have a good reason for this, but James' absence from being his normal self was clearly noticeable in the second half as Boston surged back. "He's a great finisher".

Irving put a scare into the Cavs and their fans when he stepped on Terry Rozier's foot and rolled his ankle.

In addition, Jae Crowder suffered a strained left thigh in the third quarter of Game 4 as well, but returned to play the entire fourth quarter.

But, "he didn't even score a point in the last 16 minutes he was on the floor". In Game 3, they didn't quite get that.

Kevin Love added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavs, now 11-1 in the postseason. Avery Bradley proved to be the hero, scoring 20 points and hitting a game-winning 3-pointer that bounced on the rim and finally dropped. The fan emerged from a bar inside the arena reserved for high-price ticket holders, and criticized James for his play. "He sent everybody a text, and then Kelly just called him, or he might have been calling Kelly right after the game, so it was nice to see a smile on his face".

The Celtics played relatively flawless basketball through the first two quarters as they pulled ahead by as many as 16 points. The four-time MVP hasn't been that bad since Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks in which he scored just eight points.

The Celtics also kept James in check on Sunday.

It was an odd game for sure, with nothing being any stranger than LeBron James being whistled for not one, not two, not three, but four personal fouls ... in the first half. "You got us to this point and continue to do that, so I just tried to find ways to get into the lane, get into transition, when they backed off, shoot the jumper, and felt very comfortable".

The Celtics caught the Cavs at 95-all on Smart's 3-pointer and then matched the James and Co. basket for basket in the final minutes in one of the most entertaining games of what has been a mostly boring postseason. He also finished with five rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Boston showed some signs of life as they cut the Cavaliers lead in the series to 2-1. With Thomas said to be out for the remainder of the playoffs, Boston needs players to step up, and that's exactly what Smart did Sunday night. "It's making us work", the Cavs coach said. "We have to play a lot better".

LeBron: "You always come around when we lose, I swear".

The Celtics did so Tuesday night and were well on their way to victory by halftime.

For his part, James took ownership of his rough night. Same thing happened previous year versus Toronto. Just like that, Cleveland's attempt at advancing to the finals undefeated has been shot, and we now move onto a Game 4 with actual stakes.

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