Celts Take Lead, Blow It Late In Game 4
Just two nights after pulling off a shocking, come-from-behind, upset win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics saw a double-digit, first half lead of their own fall apart in the third quarter of their 112-99, Game 4 loss, Tuesday night.
With the Cavs still railing from their break down in Game 3 and Lebron James dealing with serious foul trouble in the first half, the C's looked poised to shock the world once again.
Jumping out to a 29-19 lead after one quarter, thanks to an 11-0 run, everything was going Boston's way early on. Things got even better for the Celtics in the second, as they found themselves up by as many as 16 points.
By the break, Boston had a commanding 10-point lead and James had four fouls. That was when Kyrie Irving decided to take over, however, which was very bad news for Boston.
After helping the Cavs sneak a bit closer to the C's prior to the half, Irving seemed to say enough was enough in the third quarter.
The 25-year-old did not just play well in quarter three; He dominated. While he scored a game-high and personal playoff-high of 42 points on the night, Irving tallied half of that total in the third alone.
Even while tweaking his ankle, as he stepped on Terry Rozier's foot on the way to an easy lay in, the former Duke product looked as if he was unstoppable through the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Irving's big, 21-point outburst helped propel Cleveland to a whopping, 40-point quarter, which gave them a seven point lead that they would only add onto in the fourth.
With Irving's high level of play continuing, James, who had started to get going with nine third quarter points, helped to seal the deal in the final quarter.
15 points later, James had finished the night with 34 points of his own, to go along with six assists and five rebounds. The Cavs also finished the night with a 13-point lead and the need to win just one more game to head to their third straight NBA Finals showdown with the Golden State Warriors.
As for the Celtics, while they ended up getting dominated down the stretch, they once again showed fight and had the Cavs on the ropes for a while.
Though Boston will almost certainly not advance in this series, their fight over the past two games has been nothing short of commendable and a sign of pride. After back-to-back blowout losses at home, they have showed more than just a pulse and given the Cavs just about as much as they can handle. Even more impressive is that this has all been done without their best offensive weapon, Isaiah Thomas.
So, while the C's blew a chance to really make this series interesting, tonight, and ended up getting rolled over by Cleveland, they have shown some great promise and should be at least feared a bit at home in Game 5.
For now however, whether it's Irving, James, Kevin Love or anyone else stepping up in a major way, the Cavs are just too much for Boston to handle on a nightly basis.