LeBron struggles, exchanges words with fan after Game 3 loss

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reacts during the second half against Boston Celtics in game three of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.

No sooner had last week's wild draft lottery dropped off the radar of the league's devoted UFO spotters ("Lemme guess: Boston goes first, then Lakers at No. 2?) up popped Game 3 Sunday between the Celtics and Cavaliers".

"I had a tough game, period - not just in the second half", James said.

Cleveland not only surrendered a 21-point lead in Game Three but blew chances to set a play-off record for consecutive wins (14) dating to Game Five of last year's finals, and to become the fourth team in history to start the play-offs 11-0.

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. Cleveland now leads the Eastern Conference Finals 2-1.

LeBron James' frustrating night kept going after one of the worst playoff games of his splendid career.

LeBron James had his worst match of the Playoffs so far. He's a very good player. "My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game and building that lead, but me personally I didn't have it". Cleveland limited the Celtics to 41 percent from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc.

"Our chemistry is getting better and better and we're going to need it even more whoever we play in the finals", Durant told an interviewer. "We have to execute offensively". "What else do you want me to say?"

Everyone will have one eye on Irving's left ankle.

Irving stayed on the floor for several seconds before sitting up and re-tying his sneaker.

If the Celtics were playing with house money heading into the series, they are flush with it again as they return to the Garden.

The result was a 61-point second half in which the Celtics dished out 16 of their 28 assists.

With Thomas back home, the Celtics could be forgiven for feeling down after Thomas, their inspirational leader was shut down with a hip injury he first sustained in March. He capped his blistering 19-point outburst with a 3 in the final second of the quarter and celebrated at mid-court by pretending to put two pistols back in his holster.

It's an indication that despite still being in a dire 3-1 hole, the resolve inside Boston's locker room remains strong.

"It's a hard challenge because our preparation going into the series was going against a team with Isaiah, so now they're playing a lot differently now", LeBron James admitted after the 112-99 win in Game 4. Kelly Olynyk (15 points) and Jonas Jerebko (10 points) also gave the Celtics a lift too.

"You can't (think about it)".

And as WWE star Steve Austin used to say before the big event in another sport much-beloved by conspiracy theorists: "And That's the Bottom Line Cuz' Stone Cold Said So!" They scrapped. They have a scrappy team. "We had a couple turnovers that were unforced, but for the most part I thought they forced those turnovers".

"As we all know, a 10-point lead at halftime is nothing, especially against those guys", said Stevens. (Terry) Rozier is tough, Avery is tough, (Marcus) Smart's tough.


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