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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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Celtics 111, Cavs 108: Marla's 38 shots from Beyond the Arc on freedom, desperation & a tough switch

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 22, 2017

Notes, quotes and observations after the Celtics’ 111-108 victory over the Cavaliers Sunday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs take a 2-1 lead into Tuesday night’s Game 4 at the Q.

1. The Celtics were without star point guard Isaiah Thomas for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip strain. The Cavs had started the postseason 10-0, had won a record-tying 13 consecutive playoff games dating back to the 2016 NBA Finals and were up 2-0 in the series after hammering the Celtics Friday by 44 points, the Cavs’ biggest postseason victory and the Celtics’ worst playoff loss in TD Garden. In the first half of Game 3, the Cavs hit 14 of 22 from 3-point range, including some dazzling, improbable shots that Celtics coach Brad Stevens thought were reminiscent of Game 2. “’Oh, my gosh, this is a little bit unbelievable. It's like a video game,’” Stevens said of what was going through his head.

2. Then in the third quarter, the Cavs built a 21-point lead before, as Kyrie Irving said, the Celtics found the perfect combination of “pride, freedom, desperation, everything mixed in one.”

3. LeBron James, who scored just 11 points, his fewest in a playoff game since he had seven for the Miami Heat against the Indiana Pacers on May 28, 2014, was angry afterward. He argued with a heckler as he walked past a bar on the way to the interview room. He took issue with negative questions from a member of the Northeast Ohio media who had been extremely hard on him after The Decision.

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