Cavs' Kyrie Irving caps off brilliant night by baffling Celtics' Jae Crowder

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.

Stevens reiterated before Game 4 that Thomas will not play again this season, even if the Celtics push the defending champion Cavaliers beyond five games in the Eastern Conference finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) looks to drive on Boston Celtics' Terry Rozier (12) during the first half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland. "The way we play the game and move the ball".

CLEVELAND LeBron James' frustrating night kept going after one of the worst playoff games of his splendid career.

Boston ended the first half with a 57-47 lead, and that was after Cleveland got as close as six points thanks in large part to Irving, who scored 12 points in the second quarter to up his total to 18 for the game.

It was Boston's first outing since star guard Isaiah Thomas was shut down with a hip injury, and the Celtics showed they're capable counter-punchers.

"He put us on his back and carried us", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

Lue chuckled before the game when he was asked if he planned to say anything to James following his sub-standard performance in Game 3.

But James went just 4 of 13 from the field, missing all four 3-pointers.

The Cavs had been playing a glorified game of H.O.R.S.E. with the Warriors, who are undefeated and can complete a sweep of San Antonio on Monday night. A game we should have won, but they played hard. We've got to be better, but there's nothing wrong with being confident and feeling good. "Because I was guarding him, forcing him to the baseline, and I was forcing him to the fadeaway". We lost; it happens.

James, Irving and Love were the only three Cavs players to make double digits.

Boston still has a long way to go before its back in the series.

Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics.

"On the defensive end, we feel there's definitely a lot of room for improvement", Horford told CSN.

"Some of the plays that we made, some of the plays that I made, I was like, 'What are we doing?' or 'What could I have done better?' But you figure out the next game and go forward". "Not just in the second half", James said. James' second half, meanwhile, saw him shoot 1-for-8 with one rebound, one assist, one steal and three turnovers as he scored three points in 22 minutes.Smart played all but 37 seconds of the second half and Stevens had the ball in his hands all night.

"No, no, they didn't mix up the coverage", James said. According to his Twitter timeline, Sanders came off the bench for two years for the Hiram Terries, averaging 6.6 points and 2.8 assists per game over his career. "As the stakes get higher and higher, his game gets higher and higher, but it was nothing surprising for me". "I'm not sure there are good choices".

But if Games 3 and 4 are any indication, it won't be easy. "It's a huge accomplishment, and I tip my hat off to all of our players, our coaching staff was phenomenal".

If they are to somehow find a way to beat the Cavs on their home floor a second straight game, it'll most likely come after fending off a strong surge from James.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was initially unaware that his players had called Thomas but was greeted by a text from Thomas when he turned on his cellphone after the game.

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