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Cavaliers: LeBron James calls Kyrie Irving “special” after Game 4 win over Celtics

By Michael Beaven Published: May 24, 2017

CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving walked out of the Cavaliers locker room on Tuesday night and saw several folks waiting to greet him in the hallway inside Quicken Loans Arena.

Among the smiling faces was Cavs general manager David Griffin, who gave Irving a big hug after a 112-99 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game of the Eastern Conference finals. The triumph gave the defending NBA champion Cavs a 3-1 lead in the series, which shifts to Boston on Thursday in what could be a closeout game.

Irving emerged as the Cavs go-to-player on Tuesday when LeBron James picked up his fourth foul in the second quarter. The all-star point guard scored 33 points in the next 19 minutes, and finished with a career playoff high 42 points and four assists on a night where the Cavs erased a 16-point deficit and won by 13-points.

“I’ve been saying he’s a special kid,” said James, who finished with 34 points, six assists and five rebounds. “He’s a special talent. As the stakes get higher and higher, his game gets higher and higher, but it was nothing surprising for me. But he rose to the occasion, and he put the team on his back, and we definitely needed that effort from him.

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Cavs 112, Celtics 99: Marla's 37 shots from Beyond the Arc on passing the torch, LeBron's fouls

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 24, 2017

Notes, quotes and observations after the Cavaliers defeated the Boston Celtics 112-99 Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Leading 3-1, the Cavs will try to close out the series Thursday night in TD Garden.

1. Michael Beaven will have more on Kyrie Irving’s playoff career-high 42-point night, so I’ll keep this part short. Irving scored 36 points after LeBron James picked up his fourth foul with 6:46 left in the second quarter. Irving poured in 33 points in a span of 17:11, from 5:11 in the second period through the end of the third quarter.

2. Irving and James combined to score 48 points in the second half, more than the 42 the Celtics scored as a team.

3. But what struck me the most in Irving’s post-game remarks was the sense of the passing of the torch from James to Irving, even if James’ career is far from over.

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Celtics' Kelly Olynyk to start Game 4, Amir Johnson likely out

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 23, 2017

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said center/forward Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Center Amir Johnson is not likely to play, Stevens said, due to a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

It will mark Olynyk's first start for the Celtics in their 17 playoff games. He's averaging 8.9 points and three rebounds in 18.9 minutes off the bench. He had the biggest performance of his four-year career in Game 7 vs. the Washington Wizards with 26 points, five rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes. In that game, Olynyk hit 10 of 14 from the field, 2 of 6 from 3-point range and 4 of 5 from the free throw line.

"Kelly has had a really good playoffs overall. I think that he complements all those
guys," Stevens said. "I think any time that you can play with that kind of skill and size -- he's started games before when Amir has been out, and I think that we'll be able to
bring Jonas [Jerebko] in later on when they have their smaller lineup out there, which is probably -- which is helpful for us."

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LeBron James admits he “didn’t have it” in Sunday’s 111-108 loss to Celtics in Game 3

By Michael Beaven Published: May 22, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James sat at the podium next to Cavaliers teammate Tristan Thompson on Sunday night and acknowledged he “had a tough game” in the Eastern Conference Finals.

“I didn’t have it,” James said after the Celtics defeated the host Cavs 111-108 in Game 3 following Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.

“My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game, building that lead. But me personally, I didn’t have it. That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.”

James did not score in the fourth quarter. He totaled 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and six turnovers in 45 minutes on Sunday after entering the game with 30 or more points in eight consecutive playoff games. He was averaging 34.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 41.4 minutes during what was a 10-0 start to this playoff run.

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