The team which beat them in the 2015 Finals, set an National Basketball Association record with 73 wins in 2016, blew a 3-1 lead to the Cavs in the Finals for Cleveland's first championship, and then went out and signed Kevin Durant. Bradley's game-winning three-pointer with 1/10 of a second left on the clock in Game 3 kept the series alive for another game in Boston.
The Celtics saw a different team emerge from the locker room in the third quarter, however, and the Wine and Gold - namely Kyrie Irving - were all business over the final 24 minutes. With the possibility that Irving's ankle will stiffen over the next two days, a loss Tuesday would've increased the challenge exponentially.Cleveland slowly crept back in the game in the third, and eventually went ahead 73-72 following a pair of free throws by James with 3:15 to play in the quarter.
"Coming out of halftime I just wanted to be aggressive, lead my guys and leave it all out there on the floor", Irving said.
"We understand the goal out here and we want to accomplish something bigger than ourselves".
The visitors opened the game very well, and after 12 minutes they had 10 point lead.
The team played well in James' absence, preventing a Celtic lead from ballooning out of control before the half.
Such a scenario was prevented by a fantastic Kyrie Irving, who took matters into his own hands in the third quarter and a double-digit minus was quickly changed to a routine ending by the hosts. Stevens said Thomas may consult with two additional specialists.
And just like in Game 7 of the Finals a year ago, Kyrie was there to save the day for the Cavs, after James was unable to dominate like he had in games 1 and 2. "Somebody just asked me that".
Tell us this Grammy-winning guitar player (Wayne Johnson from The Manhattan Transfer) doesn't look exactly-exactly-like Alabama football coach Nick Saban. "With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they're still a pretty darn good team when those guys (Irving and Love) are out there".
"I was saying to myself, 'They can not tie up this series, they can not, '" Irving said.
If nothing else, Lue said their recent taste of adversity should help them remain humble heading into Game 5.
"We're in a good place", Horford said following the game, via CBS Boston.
On a night where LeBron James got into foul trouble and didn't really turn it on until the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers needed their other stars to step up. "They were unbelievable. Irving was incredible at the end of the third, and then obviously LeBron had all those baskets in the fourth". Offensively, I thought we moved and cut and played together, and then for whatever reason, all those things became a little bit more hard.