NBA Playoffs: 2-1! Cavs Trim Celtics East Finals Lead

by Samuel Abasi Posted on May 20th, 2018

Cleveland, Ohio, USA; The Cleveland Cavaliers cut the lead  of the visiting Boston Celtics in the best-of-seven series to 2-1 following a blowout Game 3 win, 116-86, in the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday.

Lebron James paced the Cavaliers  to a dominant Game 3 victory with 27 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals and  12 assists. It was LeBron James 22nd career NBA Playoffs triple-double. With James leading the way, the Cleveland Cavaliers built a 19-point lead in the first quarter, pushed it to 30 in the second half and overpowered the Celtics, who fell to 1-5 on the road in the postseason.

Kevin Love added 13 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists while Kyle Korver had 14 points, 4 3-points-made.

George Hill had 13 points, 3 3-points-made. George Hill got it going early as he scored the first two points of the game and added 11 in the first quarter alone. He scored a combined eight points in the series’ first two games.

As good as Hill was, and as well as the Cavaliers shot the ball (17 of 34 from 3-point range), it was their defense that really changed the game. Boston never really got any good footing offensively and it showed in the box score.

The Celtics hit six of 22 from 3-point range and 29 of 74 from the field.

Jaylen Brown, who averaged 23 points per game in the games 1 and 2, got into foul trouble early, which allowed the Cavaliers to really get going on offense. Jaylen Brown ended with just 10 for the Celtics after averaging 23 in the first two games.

Jayson Tatum scored 18 and Terry Rozier 13 for Boston.

“They took it to us,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Point blank: They just outplayed us.”

“We’ve been down before. We’ve just got to keep fighting our way out of it.” JR Smith said after the game.

“I also have to inspire my teammates to be better,” Lebron James said. “They answered the call tonight and they need to answer the phone another time on Monday.”

The Celtics are now 1-5 on the road in the 2018 playoffs. Only 19 of a possible 300 teams have ever overcome a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs. James and the Cavs, who previously did it in 2007 and again in 2016 while winning the NBA title, took the first step toward a third comeback.

Game 4 will be played in Cleveland at 8:30 p.m. ET Monday before the series returns to Boston.

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