'He's human': Cavs coach defends LeBron after 'weird' loss

Charles Krupa  AP

The win gives Cleveland a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and leaves them firmly on track for a third consecutive NBA Finals showdown against the Golden State Warriors. He scored 11 points total and just three, on 1-of-9 shooting, as the Boston went on a rampage throughout the second half.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the reigning National Basketball Association champions and, with a 21-point lead midway through the third quarter in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night, were on the verge of winning a league-record 14th consecutive postseason game.

Cleveland, stunned by Boston in Game 3 after romping two blowout wins in the opening two games of the Eastern Conference series, looked to be heading for another shock as the Celtics dominated the first half.

"Multiple Cavs sources summed up James' night to ESPN as simply a product of his riding Kyrie Irving (who scored 17 of his 29 points in the first half) and Kevin Love (who scored 22 of his 28 in the first half) and then having difficulty turning it on late".

The loss ended the champions' 13-game post-season winning streak.

"I mean, listen, you've got to be smart about it", James said. As seen in Game 3, Boston wants to flip the script. When you're watching Michael Jordan it's nearly like a god. "That's what I always think (with) people of his stature or people like him".

But there's no denying that his accolades are putting him in the orbit of Jordan, his boyhood idol.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) celebrates with J.R. Smith after defeating the Boston Celtics 112-99 in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland. "That was my mindset". After the incredible averages he has been putting in these playoffs, this game came right out of left field and seems unjustified and wholly unprecedented.

Without injured star Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs will surrender in four straight and the hubbub over James' miserable Game 4 showing guarantees he won't disappear in the series again. But he said both he and his teammates continue to be inspired by their leader. "It's our job to make sure that we defend him as best we can and just make every - take other guys out of the game".

"We're all to blame", said Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue on Monday.

"This team is a insane team". "We couldn't get stops". "As of tonight, I'll get started". Avery Bradley added in 20 points and two steals.

Like James indicated they normally do, the Celtics ran a misdirection that helped cause the confusion.

He's the best player in the game.

"He had 12 free throws or something like that?" Irving, who has a history of injuries, said he has rolled his ankle enough to know when it's serious. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists.

Cleveland also committed 16 turnovers that Boston turned into 14 points.

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue refused to point the finger of blame at LeBron James on Monday, May 22 (Tuesday Manila time) a day after a woeful performance from the National Basketball Association star gave the Boston Celtics a postseason lifeline.

Forget playing like he had throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. The 43 points Cleveland scored in the first quarter set a team postseason record for a quarter.

The Celtics managed to stabilize the game and Bradley's jumper cut the lead to 26-19 with 2:45 left in the first quarter. Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing. It had all the ingredients of a Cavalier win last game, and they just blinked, losing 111-108.

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