Posted on May 22, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The Boston Celtics had a bad habit earlier in the regular season. For some reason, they got into a habit of starting slow; sometimes it would be just the first quarter, but it was often the entire first half. But then they’d play lights out in the second half and pull out the win.
That formula may have worked against lesser talents during the regular season, but it isn’t going to work against LeBron James in the postseason.
Just like they did in Game Three, the Celtics got off to a horrible start Monday night in Game Four shooting only 26.9 percent from the field. It certainly didn’t help that the Cavaliers hit around 60 percent of their shots. LeBron James led the way with 11 points as the Cavs took a 34-18 lead heading into the second quarter.
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Boston started to pick up its game in the second. They managed to cut the deficit to nine points with roughly four minutes to play until halftime. But then they allowed the Cavs to go on a 13-7 run to make the halftime score, 68-53.
Once again, the Celtics were down by a significant margin at the half. But if they could bring their ‘A’ game, on both ends of the court, they had plenty of time to pull off the comeback.
Cleveland tried to help the Celtics get back in the game with a dismal effort in the third quarter. But the Celtics countered with a disappointing effort of their own. They closed the gap a little but heading into the final quarter they were still down 13 points, 89-76.
James followed his 11-point efforts from the first two quarters with a 13-point one in the third.
Boston was only able to get as close as seven in the fourth quarter. The Celtics outscored the Cavaliers in the period, but not by nearly enough to turn the outcome to their favor. Cleveland went on to win 111-102.
LeBron James led the way with 44 points. He didn’t get a ton of help from anyone else, but he didn’t need much. Tristan Thompson had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. George Hill chipped in 13 as well. Kyle Korver led the way off the bench with 14 points.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Celtics; Jaylen Brown led the way with 25 points. Jayson Tatum chipped in 17 points, and Terry Rozier had a double-double, 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The win puts the Cavaliers in a position to do the improbable now- overcome a 2-0 deficit. Only 19 other teams have done so before, two of which were led by LeBron James. However, to do it, they are going to have to win at least one in Boston. The Celtics have not lost at home throughout the postseason.
“It’s the best two out of three to go to the NBA Finals. Doesn’t get better than that,” James said after the game (ESPN). “Ultimately, anybody that didn’t think this was going to be tough, I mean, everything is tough. In this deal, it’s a blast to have to grit your teeth, get up off the mat and go after it again.”
The Eastern Conference Finals will move back to Boston for Game Five on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 PM ET.