Celtics Stun Cavs On Bradley’s Game Winner
Like Kevin Garnett hollered, following his only NBA championship in 2008, anything is possible.
After getting taken to the woodshed in back-to-back home games to open the Eastern Conference Finals and trailing by 16 at the half in Game 3, the Boston Celtics, short their best offensive player, have shocked the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 111-108 win.
While the first half appeared to be another Cavalier runaway, with Kevin Love exploding from behind the three-point line and Kyrie Irving making nearly every shot he took in the first two quarters, the second half was another story.
Aided by the Cavs' complacency, the C's just simply started chipping away at the Cleveland lead, which had ballooned to as much as 21 points early in the third quarter.
Led by Marcus Smart, who was inserted into the starting lineup for the injured Isaiah Thomas and dropped a team-high 27 points, Boston kept on attacking and slowly chipping into Cleveland's lead.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Celtics had trimmed their deficit to just five points.
From there, they dominated the fourth, snagging the game from the sleeping Cavs on a rim-rattling, three-point shot by Avery Bradley with just one tenth of a second remaining on the game clock.
Combined with the Celtics' hustle and stick-to-itiveness was the fact that the Cavs went cold from outside and Lebron James was a complete non factor in the second half.
The whole game was really a disaster for James, who scored just 11 points on 4-13 shooting from the field including 0-4 from three. He did have six assists and six boards, but he also turned the ball over six times and was almost missing in action down the stretch.
Though the win has to have Celtics Nation feeling great and riding high, it really feels like one that was derived more from a definite complacency and laziness by the Cavs.
Of course Smart adding big scoring in place of Thomas and guys like Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko both finishing the night in double figures are great sights to see for the Boston faithful. However, if the Cavs had played half as well as they had in either of the first two games, they would have rolled again.
Expect this game to re-ignite the fire Cleveland showed in Games 1 and 2 more than it will drive the C's.