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James, Irving combine for all fourth-quarter points, Cavs take 2-0 series lead over Celtics

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 21, 2015

CLEVELAND: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined to score all 24 fourth-quarter points and the Cavaliers survived a scare from the Boston Celtics for a 99-91 victory Tuesday, giving the Cavs a 2-0 series lead in the opening round.

James scored half of his 30 points in the fourth and Irving added nine of his 26 in the fourth. James also had nine rebounds and seven assists, while Irving had five rebounds and six assists.

Center Timofey Mozgov scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds and forward Kevin Love had 13 points and six rebounds while battling foul trouble.

Boston guard Isaiah Thomas, who finished second this week in Sixth Man of the Year balloting, finished with 22 points, including 10 of 10 shooting at the free-throw line on a night the Celtics’ bench outscored the Cavs 51-7. Former Cavs center Tyler Zeller had 11 points and six rebounds, while Jared Sullinger scored 14 points and Jae Crowder scored 10, both off the bench.

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NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers defeat Celtics 99-91 to take 2-0 lead in first round series

By Michael Beaven Published: April 21, 2015

The Cavaliers starting five provided a majority of the scoring Tuesday night and led the way in a 99-91 victory over a pesky Boston Celtics squad at Quicken Loans Arena. The fourth quarter featured neither team making a significant run. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers in the fourth at both ends of the floor. Whenever the Cavs needed a basket, James and Irving were the players to go to. James finished the evening with 30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Irving totaled 26 points, six assists and five rebounds. Timofey Mozgov (16 points) and Kevin Love (13) points also reached double figures for Cleveland. J.R. Smith added in seven points. Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 22 points and Jared Sullinger chipped in 14 points. The Celtics reserves were much better tonight, but the Cavs starting five was just too good.

Leaders

Points: LeBron James (Cavaliers) 30.

Rebounds: Evan Turner (Celtics) 12.

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NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers lead Celtics 75-68 after three quarters

By Michael Beaven Published: April 21, 2015

The Cavaliers opened the third quarter on a 17-4 run and built their largest lead of the game, 68-54 with 6:50 to go in the quarter. The spurt featured a Kevin Love two-hand reverse dunk following a pass by LeBron James who was near mid-court at 8:06 and a James two-hand dunk facing the basket off of an alley-oop pass from Kyrie Irving at 6:50. Both plays brought the sellout crowd to its feet with excitement and also brought a lot of energy to the Cavaliers players on the court. Timofey Mozgov, Irving, James and Love combined to score all of the points during the 17-4 surge. The Celtics regrouped and trimmed into the deficit as the Cavaliers led 75-68 entering the fourth quarter. Irving has 17 points after three quarters. Mozgov has 16, James has 15 and Love has 13 points. Jared Sullinger lead the Celtics with 12 points and Isaiah Thomas has 11 points.

Leaders

Points: Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) 17.

Rebounds: Evan Turner (Celtics) 11.

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NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers lead Celtics 51-50 at halftime

By Michael Beaven Published: April 21, 2015

The Celtics came out strong in the second and built a 41-34 lead midway through the quarter. Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk made 3’s to cap Boston’s 15-9 run. The Celtics continued to push the tempo and rebound well, and extended their edge to 45-36 moments later. The Cavaliers put together a 15-5 spurt to close out the quarter and lead 51-50 at halftime. The run featured a Timofey Mozgov layup, a J.R. Smith steal and dunk, a Kevin Love bucket, a Smith jumper, a LeBron James layup, a Kyrie Irving 3-pointer and James converting two free throws. Boston leads Cleveland 15-4 in second chance points and 23-20 in rebounds. Irving leads the Cavaliers at halftime with 12 points. James has 11 points, five assists and four rebounds, and Mozgov has 10 points. Tyler Zeller and Isaiah Thomas each have nine points for the Celtics.

Leaders

Points: Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) 12.

Rebounds: Evan Turner (Celtics), Tyler Zeller (Celtics) and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers) 5 each.

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NBA Playoffs: Celtics lead Cavaliers 26-25 after one quarter

By Michael Beaven Published: April 21, 2015

The Cavaliers came out fast with a 5-1 lead courtesy of a Kevin Love 3-pointer and a Timofey Mozgov layup, but the Celtics responded to take a 16-8 lead with 5:40 to go in the quarter. Tyler Zeller and Marcus Smart combined to score 12 of Boston’s first 16 points. Love picked up his second foul at the 7:41 mark of the quarter, which didn’t help Cleveland. The Cavaliers countered with an 8-0 run to tie the score at 16-16 at 4:12. Kyrie Irving made two layups and Mozgov added two powerful dunks. Irving picked up his second foul on an offensive charge with 35.5 left that Cavaliers coach David Blatt and a sellout crowd at Quicken Loans did not agree with. The teams traded baskets and free throws for the final four minutes of the quarter and the Celtics led 26-25. LeBron James made one 3-pointer in the quarter for three points.

Leaders

Points: Tyler Zeller (Celtics) and Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) 9 each.

Rebounds: Evan Turner (Celtics), Tyler Zeller (Celtics) and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers) 4 each.

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Pregame: Celtics at Cavs, Game 2

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 21, 2015
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Time: 7 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: TNT, FS Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM,  La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out; Celtics - None.

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LeBron James is unsocial during playoffs with self-imposed blackout

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 21, 2015
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INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James insists he’s on a communication blackout and wasn’t aware of a veiled jab Heat President Pat Riley appeared to aim in his direction. That’s the way it always goes with James this time of year.

James says he shuts his phone off, stays off social media and locks in solely on the postseason and his team’s opponent. In this case, that’s the Boston Celtics and Game 2 Tuesday night.

“I don’t care about nonsense. There’s too much nonsense out there,” James said Tuesday morning in explaining why he shuts everything down. “This is a time where I lock in right now and I don’t need nothing creeping into my mind for no reason that don’t need to be there. I put all my energy and effort toward this team, that’s all that matters.”

And that no longer pertains to Riley and the Heat. Riley said Monday the Heat are approaching their summer with “no more smiling faces with hidden agendas.” It certainly seemed to be fired toward James, who urged the Heat to draft guard Shabazz Napier last year and made Riley fly to Las Vegas to meet with him in July, only to leave anyway for Cleveland.

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Celtics coach Brad Stevens focuses on rebounding, defensive transition for Game 2 vs. Cavs

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 20, 2015
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Highlights of Celtics coach Brad Stevens' pre-practice press conference Monday at Quicken Loans Arena:

1. Stevens was clearly not happy with the 113-100 loss, even after video review. Asked if the Celtics looked better than he thought, Stevens said, "No. We came up short in a couple of areas a little bit more than I thought. The positive is that hopefully we can improve from it. We're going to have to play a lot better."

2. One thing Stevens will emphasize in Tuesday night's Game 2 is the Celtics' depth. They played 10 men Sunday. "We got a lot of good performances at times from a lot of different guys. The biggest thing is we have to utilize our depth as an advantage," he said.

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Celtics' guard Isaiah Thomas accepts double-teaming, hopes Game 2 'a different story'

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 20, 2015
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Celtics' guard Isaiah Thomas finished second to the Toronto Raptors' Lou Williams in voting for the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award. But Thomas and Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the Cavs paid plenty of attention to the 5-foot-9 sparkplug in Sunday's series opener.

Thomas scored a team-high 22 points, hitting 6 of 14 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line, while adding a game-high 10 assists and five rebounds. He also committed five turnovers.

Asked before practice Monday if Thomas had to produce against the Cavs, Stevens said, "I don't look at it that way. They're going to pay him a lot of attention, so it may be just pressure to make the right basketball play. He did a pretty good job of that yesterday. Whether he scores 20 like he did yesterday or he scores 5, the goal is for our team to get good shots.

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Evan Turner's defense praised; Celtics' Turner says Kyrie Irving 'probably should have had 40'

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 20, 2015
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Evan Turner, the Boston Celtics' 6-foot-7 forward from Ohio State, said he spent most of his day guarding LeBron James in the Cavs' 113-100 victory Sunday.

Before practice Monday at Quicken Loans Arena. Celtics coach Brad Stevens praised Turner's effort.

"He's playing against a pretty good player," Stevens said of Turner's performance. Turner finished with 12 points on 4 of 12 shooting, seven rebounds and five assists. "He wants to play a little bit better than he did yesterday. He's got to continue to be himself, continue to try to make the right basketball play.

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