Lue: Cavs' Irving feeling 'good' after Game 4 ankle injury

03 June, 2017, 02:13 | Author: Felix Jensen

All the Celtics have done over the past five-plus months is overcome adversity.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were dominant through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics, but faltered a bit in Games 3 and 4 at home. Cavaliers scored 43 points in the first quarter, crushing all dreams of the Celtics fans and players.

James has scored 30 or more points in 11 of 13 games this postseason for the Cavaliers, who improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. Teams can load up on one side and force poor possessions. "That just shows you how special he is offensively". It comes from up top and our leadership. I mean, it's pretty cool to think about that in three weeks you've got the No. 1 pick in the draft. But for now, it looks like they might just have to tip their cap to the Cavs.

The Celtics have played better in Games 3 and 4, though.

"We're definitely disappointed. I felt like if we weren't, it would be a problem", Celtics' Avery Bradley said.

The deficit quickly grew to 16 before Irving caught fire.

Irving was moving around and putting up shots during the Cavs' morning shootaround.

With Thomas already gone, the Celtics played without Amir Johnson in Game 4 because a shoulder injury suffered in the third game.

"I told our guys: 'We made a lot of great strides, but this pain is part of the path to what we ultimately want to be, '" he said. Hit a game-winner at the buzzer that rolls around the rim for 12 seconds or win by 20 points. It's tough to put into words.

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That the Cavs did, because they seem to thrive on drama.

While James and the Cavaliers are headed to a third straight National Basketball Association finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors, the Celtics will start the quest to close a sizable gap.

It picked up steam last season, when David Blatt was sacked at midseason with the Cavs owning a 30-11 record, general manager David Griffin saying his team was great when the chips were down, but that the locker room didn't seem happy when things were going well. The Cavaliers were locked, loaded and ready to advance to the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year.

The NBA Playoffs are a proving ground for players, a time to see whether their talents match up with the ability to handle the pressure of increased physicality, a higher level of intensity and meaningful moments at every point of the game.

The sixth-year point guard was outstanding throughout the series, averaging 25.8 points per game. He finished the game with 35 points, booking his seventh straight finals appearance as reigning champions Cavs wrapped up a 4-1 victory over Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. More bad news was revealed after the game. The Cavs set an National Basketball Association record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity. "They had to kind of re-shape [without Thomas], and that's the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach, you're able to reshape what you do offensively and still have good rhythm", James said. "And also you're (on the road), and Boston is going to make it even harder". And then we come out, we get some tremendous looks, and Kyrie just goes nuts and ends us.

"We have to execute offensively". That's just how the game is played. If it doesn't happen tonight, it will happen in Game 6. "They can not. We can not go to Boston 2-2 and then it becomes nearly an even series".

There weren't many positive takeaways from this series for the Celtics, but facing a team like Cleveland gave the C's an idea of what it takes to be a legitimate championship contender. I'm very happy about our accomplishment.

"I don't have to score the ball to make an impact on the game and that was my mindset".

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