LeBron James apparently was sick during Game 3. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James apparently was sick during Game 3. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James seemingly disappeared in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, finishing the game with only 11 points.

This came after he was dominant in Games 1 and 2, but his subpar performance in Game 3 might have had more to do with James’ health rather than the Celtics’ defense. 

In a postgame interview with Fox Sports Ohio after Game 4, Richard Jefferson gave some details.

“I know he won’t talk about it, so I will give my big guy shot,” Jefferson said. “Deron Williams missed shoot around this morning because he had a little bug, just really lethargic, had no energy. I think that is what Bron had.

“Sometimes these little bugs go around. When Deron didn’t show up to shoot around it started clicking in his head. For him it was I don’t know why I was so lethargic, why I had no energy; I had nothing. These little things happen, it was no panic. Look [Lebron] was lethargic, they hit a bunch of tough shots. If Marcus Smart doesn’t go 7-of-10 from three were not even talking about it.”

James struggled in the first half of Game 4 by racking up four fouls, but he would go on to score 34 points in 38 minutes as the Cavs took a commanding three games to one series lead.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

The Cavaliers had Kyrie Irving in Game 4 on Tuesday and the Celtics didn't.</p>
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Kyrie Irving saved LeBron James, Ty Lue and the city of Cleveland from a total state of panic Tuesday night. 

May 23, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives to the basket in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics in game four of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives to the basket in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics in game four of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving saved LeBron James, Ty Lue and the city of Cleveland from a total state of panic Tuesday night. 

With James saddled with four first-half fouls for the first time in his career and the Cavaliers staring a second straight shocking home loss to the Celtics in the face, Irving took over with 21 of his playoff career-high 42 points in an amazing third-quarter display to lead the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena. 

The Celtics, who led by as many as 16 in the first half before a shell-shocked crowd, will try to stave off elimination Thursday night in Game 5 of the Eastern finals at TD Garden. 

James, who was scoreless in the fourth quarter Sunday in Game 3, had 15 of his 34 points in the final period. The Cavs came out and turned again to Kevin Love, who hit the game’s first basket, a three. Cleveland scored the game’s first five points. 

Then the Celtics took over, scoring 11 straight points and to take all the energy out of QuickenLoans Arena. 

LeBron James continued his disengaged play of Sunday night, settling for threes and missing them. Love did find James with his trademark length-of-the-court pass and James delivered with a one-handed jam to cut Boston’s lead to 18-13. 

The only bit of troubling news in the first quarter for the Celtics were the two fouls apiece called on Jae Crowder and Al Horford. Crowder stayed in the game to guard LeBron. 

The Celtics led 29-19 after one quarter.  

(For a complete box score, click here.)

The Cavaliers showed a little spark with a transition-inspired rally. James started to get to the basket for layups. 

Momentum continued to roll in the Celtics’ favor in the second quarter, as they built their lead up to 49-33 on threes from Terry Rozier and Avery Bradley. At that precise moment, the Celtics had outscored the Cavs, 105-64, since trailing 77-56 midway through the third quarter of Game 3. 

But without question, the biggest storyline was the foul trouble of LeBron James. After getting called for a highly questionable third personal foul on a touch foul of Marcus Smart shooting a three with 8:55 left in the second quarter. But Ty Lue decided to keep him in the game. 

That move backfired when James bowled over Rozier in the lane for his fourth foul with 6:46 left in the second quarter and the Celtics up, 43-33. James, with four first-half fouls for the first time in his career, sat for the remainder of the half. Down 49-33, it was Irving to the rescue, who scored the next 10 points in a 10-2 Cleveland run. 

The Cavs had the lead down to six before the Celtics finished the half on a 6-2 spurt for a 57-47 advantage. Without Isaiah Thomas for a second straight game, ball movement for the Celtics was outstanding. In the first half, the Celtics had 17 assists on 21 field goals.

Starting the third quarter, James missed a layup, complained about not getting a foul called, allowed Kelly Olynyk to blow by him for a layup and missed an open three and committed his fourth turnover, leading to a Jae Crowder layup. 

Then he hit a jumper with nine minutes left in the third, his first jumper made all night. Following a Celtics turnover, Irving and James got on the break. Irving sacrificed his layup for a pass back to James for a dunk, sensing the desperate need to get his superstar engaged.

The Cavs drew to within three, 61-58, after Kelly Olynyk picked up his fourth foul with 8:30 left in the third. But Marcus Smart banked in a three to make it 64-58. A pair of Jonas Jerebko free throws made it a 66-58 game. James found a wide-open Smith for a three, cutting Boston’s lead to three, 69-66. An Irving layup cut the lead to one, 69-68. 

But then with a golden opportunity to take the lead, James blew a tomahawk dunk with 4:15 left and Olynyk responded with a dunk of his own and a free throw. But exactly a minute after blowing his dunk and moments after an Irving three, James rattled home two free throws for Cleveland’s first lead since 5-4 in the opening minutes. 

With the crowd on its feet and sensing a huge run, Irving drove to the basket for another layup that made it 77-72. But Irving fell awkwardly on his left ankle. He immediately grabbed the ankle, angrily retied the left shoe and stayed in the game. 

He didn’t exactly slow down. He scored 11 points after the injury, including three drives to the basket and a buzzer-beating three from 30 feet to put the Cavs up, 87-80, heading into the fourth. Irving scored 21 points in the quarter on 9-of-10 shooting. The Cavs outscored the Celtics, 40-23, in the third. 

A James layup put the Cavs up, 89-80, before Al Horford and Jae Crowder hit threes, trimming Cleveland’s lead to four, 90-86. 

With eight minutes left and the shot clock expiring, James hit a turnaround to put the Cavs up, 98-88. 

The Celtics made another run to cut the deficit to 103-97 on threes from Avery Bradley and Jonas Jerebko. But James snapped a string of nine missed threes with a triple followed by a bank shot to put Cleveland ahead 108-97 with three minutes left. Another James jumper extended the lead to 110-97. 

The Cavaliers went through an amazing stretch in the second half, hitting 27-of-32 shots from the field. 

 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

It was after Game 1 that Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked if Jonas Jerebko had a role in the club’s third-round series against the Cavaliers. It’s apparently been found, too, as 6-foot-10 Swede has seemingly become the club’s enforcer. 

One game after Jerebko told Kevin Love to stop flopping in Game 3, Jerebko seemingly came to the defense of Celtics guard Terry Rozier tonight when the second-year pro was muscled down to the court by Cavaliers star LeBron James in the second quarter, and delivered a shove of sorts to the all-world James. 

After a brief verbal exchange following the shove from Jerebko, James returned the favor with a dunk and a shove to Jerebko. 

It would be one of James’ only plays in the second quarter, as he sat for most of the quarter, with four fouls to his name. 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

There will be additional security at the Cavaliers-Celtics game Tuesday. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

There will be additional security at the Cavaliers-Celtics game Tuesday. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Cleveland police will increase its presence at Quicken Loans Arena for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack, according to TMZ Sports

Earlier Tuesday, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league is already beginning to prepare for the Finals, which begin June 1. With the Cavaliers holding a 2-1 lead over the Celtics, the series is guaranteed to return to Boston for Game 5 Thursday night. The Boston Police announced it will add security to concert venues in the city as well. Bags, backpacks and purses larger than a wristlet won’t be allowed inside the T.D. Garden. 

The U.K. raised its terrorism threat to the highest level Tuesday for the third time in history, signaling the country is still on watch after an attack at an Ariana Grande concert Monday killed 22 people and left 59 injured. Officials are still looking into whether the perpetrator, Salman Abedi, was part of a larger terror cell.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Celtics big man Amir Johnson was injured after a tie-up with Tristan Thompson on a rebound attempt that bothered his right shoulder in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday.

He remains a question mark for Tuesday’s Game 4.

Amir Johnson will be a gametime decision for Game 4. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Amir Johnson will be a gametime decision for Game 4. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Celtics big man Amir Johnson was injured after a tie-up with Tristan Thompson on a rebound attempt that bothered his right shoulder in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. He remains a question mark for Tuesday’s Game 4.

According to the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, Johnson will have a MRI on his right shoulder and has a sprained AC joint. On Tuesday morning, Stevens told reporters Johnson will see how he feels after shootaround and then make a decision from there.

In the Cleveland series thus far, Johnson’s productivity hasn’t shown up in the stat sheets.

In Game 1, he played just four minutes and brought down one rebound. Johnson was taken out of the starting lineup for Game 2 and had two points, three rebounds and two steals in 11 minutes. He was put back into the lineup for Game 3 where he played nine minutes and had two points and two rebounds.

However, his physicality cannot be tallied in the box score.

The 6-foot-9-inch 240-pound Johnson has 11 years experience in the NBA and is one of the few Celtics players who can go up against opponents’ big men as the last line of defense.

Despite the loss of Isaiah Thomas after Game 2 and limited time with Johnson, the Celtics were able to pull out a 111-108 win on Avery Bradley’s game-winning three pointer with 1/10 of a second left on the clock. Marcus Smart, who got the start in place of Thomas had 27 points, seven assists and five rebounds followed by Bradley who ended with 20 points and four assists. 

Jonas Jerebko checked in for Al Horford in the third quarter and went 4-for-4 from the field, including 2-of-2 from three-point range in 12 minutes. Jerebko could fill the starting spot for Johnson if he doesn’t return. In the postseason, Jerebko has averaged 9.9 minutes and 3.1 points per game. 

Whether or not Johnson returns Tuesday, LeBron James is bound to have his way after his subpar performance of 11 points, six rebounds and six assists in Game 3. However, without the inside presence of Johnson, it might be more easy for James to get the rim. With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who scored 29 and 28 points respectively in Game 3, on the perimeter it puts the Celtics in constant scramble situations on the effective trio. 

Blog Author: 
Olivia Healy

Celtics Marcus Smart (36) and Al Horford celebrate Avery Bradley's game-winner in Game 3 against the Cavaliers.</p>
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CLEVELAND — Isaiah Thomas may be gone, but he’s not forgotten.

In the moments after the Celtics completed a remarkable comeback victory over the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night, forward Kelly Olynyk decided to get Thomas on a FaceTime connection to celebrate.