Celtics with an all-time gritty win in Game 3 vs. Cavs

Tristan Thompson and Avery Bradley Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers, USA - 21 May 2017 Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (L) defends against Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (R) during the first half of game three of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena.

In a familiar theme throughout the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers are just toying with the Boston Celtics in Game 3 on Sunday.

"Yeah, I didn't even realize that (the video session) had happened until later on", said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

"I think the best part about it from all of our standpoints was how inspiring it's been to have a guy that's done all this and accomplished all this and is willing to literally go out and leave it all out there", Stevens said.

Al Horford added 16 points and Kelly Olynyk contributed 15 off the bench for the Celtics, who were beaten by an average of 28.5 points in the first two games. It wasnt worth all four. Let us regroup. Let us regroup, and all the narrative and everything that was going on, let's regroup, and let's get back to playing desperate basketball, which they did tonight.

Avery Bradley, who finished the night with 20 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals, knocked down the game-winning three-point shot with only 0.1 seconds remaining.

"LeBron was not engaged tonight", TNT analyst Charles Barkley said after the game. "We wish he was here with us, and we just want him to get better".

"The Cavs just suddenly decided, 'Well, we can just go home.' And they pretty much did, mentally". Kyrie Irving had 29 points and Kevin Love recorded 28 points for Cleveland in the loss.

Cavs' superstar LeBron James had a rare off night with 11 points on 4-13 shooting, to go along with six rebounds and six assists. It was an intense moment made unusual by the fact that a Cavs fan would heckle James for an off night when James is the one who delivered Cleveland a championship last June.

'You let a team grab momentum like that, you nearly know that last shot is going in, ' James said.

"LeBron seemed detached. He was not driving to the basket like he did nearly every other playoff game", Pluto says.

"I would rather have adversity and win", Lue said with a laugh.

Sunday's game marked the first time in LeBron's postseason career that his team lost after leading by 20 points or more.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue expected Boston to battle to the end. "We needed to get stops and make plays on the offensive end".

"He's got to be aggressive, get downhill, play like he's been playing, play confident", said Smith after practice Monday. Cleveland entered Game 3 leading National Basketball Association playoff teams in field-goal percentage (.433), 3-point percentage (.433), offensive rating (119.4) and 3-pointers per game (14.5).

"Everybody in this locker room, on this team, has been told we couldn't do something or had somebody that really didn't believe in us", said Smart.

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