Cleveland Cavaliers coach defends LeBron James after 'weird' loss

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

"They can not. We can not go to Boston 2-2 and then it becomes nearly an even series".

The spotlight, of course, looms large for LeBron in the postseason, and his performances have always been a measure of just how much we scrutinize the best players. "Everybody did their part".

They did. And they built a 16-point lead, before the Cleveland stars, more notable Irving, stole the game right back.

Had the Celtics put forth the effort and execution that they did in Game 3 in the first two games of this series, they might not be in the position that they are in now. Cleveland dominated the Celtics so thoroughly in the first two games that not many gave Boston a chance on Sunday, especially without Thomas in the line-up. The Cavs head to Boston with a 3-1 lead in the series hoping to clinch their third trip to the NBA Finals in a row.

James kept a low profile Monday, and did not address the media a day after one of the worst postseason games of his career. On his way to the postgame news conference, the superstar got into an exchange with a fan who heckled him about his rough night.

"I'm sure he'll be a coach, once he's done playing, because not a lot of players have that, and he needs that", said Horford. "You're going to see a team playing hard, very hard, the entire game".

The defending National Basketball Association champions, who shot 71 percent in the second half to open a 3-1 lead in the series, can wrap up their third straight conference title - and a "three-match" against the Warriors - with a win in Game 5 on Thursday night in Boston. "I think that's where it hurt us the most".

"You obviously hear people saying that it's all about how you respond, and we don't feel like people believed in us and counted us out", Bradley said.

If you were wondering whether the Celtics' shocking win over the Cavaliers in Game 3 would affect their odds of winning Game 4, the answer is ... not much at all.

LeBron was in a sour mood during his postgame press conference, and being ridiculed in your own arena by a guy who plays in the North Coast Athletic Conference may have had something to do with it.

For a half, it seemed like anything was possible. "I've been confident every time I've stepped on the court, whether I'm falling out of bounds or shooting a free throw, confidence is something I never lack". He's been down with everything he's been going through, and then for him not to be here, I know that hurts him even more. If it's going to happen, let it happen now. They beat the Warriors 99-86 on the road in Golden State on March 8, when they entered as 7.5-point underdogs. We've got to be better, but there's nothing wrong with being confident and feeling good.

In a game that featured LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, Smart was the best player on the floor. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it nine straight times in 1970. He finished with a career-playoff high of 42 points on 15-of-22 shooting.

The fourth came when he was whistled for an offensive foul against Terry Rozier with 6:46 to play and Boston ahead by 10 points.

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