Ruthless Cavs whip Celtics by 30, trim East finals deficit to 2-1
LOS ANGELES, United States (UPDATED) – LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers thrashed the Boston Celtics 116-86 on Saturday, May 19 (Sunday, May 20 in Manila) powering their way back into their NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Cavaliers trimmed the deficit in the best-of-7 series to 2-1 – avoiding the 0-3 hole from which no NBA team has returned to win a series. They'll try to even things up when they host Game 4 on Monday.
The Cavaliers, trying to return to the NBA Finals for a 4th straight year, insisted after two double-digit defeats in Boston that things would be different on their home floor.
They wasted no time in making it so, racing to a 12-4 lead midway through the first quarter, which they ended leading 32-17.
By then, James and George Hill had already scored more than 10 points apiece, and half a dozen Cavaliers players finished by scoring in double digits.
James led the way with 27 points, 5 rebounds and 12 assists along with two steals and 3 blocked shots.
That was NASTY, @KingJames #NBAPlayoffs | #AllForOne pic.twitter.com/I1ugcZr57Z— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 20, 2018
But James, whose 42-point triple-double was in vain in Game 2, got plenty of support in a game in which Cleveland never trailed.
Kyle Korver scored 14 points off the bench. Hill and Kevin Love scored 13 apiece, JR Smith chipped in 11 and Tristan Thompson scored 10.
"We were really good," James said. "We had our focus and offensively and defensively we made plays."
Hill and Smith came into the contest having been outscored by Boston's Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown 72-12 over the first two games.
Brown, who scored 23 points in each of the first two games, finished with 10 points and 5 fouls. He didn't score at all until the second quarter. Rozier scored 13, but connected on just 5 of 12 shots from the floor.
"I thought everybody came in and contributed in some way," said Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue. "So it was good for us to have everybody touch the basketball and play well." – Rappler.com