National Basketball Association (NBA)
Cleveland Cavaliers 111 – 102 Boston Celtics
Quicken Loans, Arena – Cleveland, Ohio
Best of seven series tied 2-2
James bullied his way to 44 points, surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop a post-season list and helped the Cleveland Cavaliers level the Eastern Conference finals at 2 all on Tuesday morning with a 111-102 victory over the Celtics.
The 33-year-old superstar made 17-of-28 shots from the floor, 1-of-4 from 3-point range, and 9-of-13 free throws while contributing five rebounds, three assists and two steals to spark a crucial home win.
Kyle Korver added 14 points with several magnificent plays from the 37 year old, and Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland.
George Hill managed a second 13 point game in a row and looked a shadow of the guy everyone in the Cavs crowed was pointing fingers at after the first two games.
Lebron and co held off Boston’s comeback in the fourth quarter and squared a tight series with only three games to play.
The Celtics had pulled within 100-93 on a Marcus Smart’s basket with 4:29 left but Thompson got free for a dunk, and after a miss by Boston, James recovered after making his seventh turnover by making a steal and layup.
For the second consecutive game, the Celtics struggled in the first quarter, shotting just 27 per cent (7 of 26) in the first 12 minutes with both Tatum and Brown missing dunks.
Jaylen Brown posted 25 as Boston had five scorers in double figures, but they fell behind by 19 in the first-half and didn’t have enough to catch Cleveland.
The Cavs won the game despite 19 turn overs but will have to avoid such stats when the series go back to Boston for game five, a place where the home team is 9-0 in the playoffs.
“It’s a hostile environment, James said after the game on the prospect of stealing one in Boston.
“We understand that and know that there’s no love in there.
“If you ain’t got on green, if you don’t play for that team, if you don’t bleed green, they got no love for you.
“So we’ve got to come out with a bunker mentality and understand it’s just us.
Game 5 is on Thursday morning at the TD Center, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens is trying to stay positive with a team that has given up a 2-0 lead and fell to 1-6 on the road in these playoffs.
“It’s the best two out of three to go to the NBA Finals and it doesn’t get any better than that, said Stevens.
“Ultimately, anybody that didn’t think this was going to be tough, I mean, everything is tough.
“In this deal, it’s a blast to have to grit your teeth, get up off the mat and go after it again.
The game played in the series so far.
Game 1.Boston 108 – 83 Cleveland
Game 2.Boston 107 – 94 Cleveland
Game 3.Cleveland 116 – 86 Boston
Game 4.Cleveland 111 – 102 Boston
In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors lead the best of seven series 2-1 and will play host to game four on Wednesday morning at the Oracle arena in Oackland, Califonia.