INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - A day after LeBron James disappeared in the second half of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 111-108 Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, J.R. Smith said the Cavs need their star to be more aggressive than he showed Sunday.
When the two teams left Boston after Game 2, the Cavs had beaten the Celtics by 44 points for the most lopsided win in Eastern finals history.
"We've been playing so well, but like I said, you let a team grab momentum like that, you nearly knew that that last shot was going to go in", James said. We know it's coming."We've got to figure out how to be better than them in Game 4", James said.Why did the Celtics only score 86 points? It wasn't worth all four.
"We knew that Friday was a 46-point disaster, [it's] worth one". About halfway through the period, the Celtics trailed by 21 points.
Notably, LeBron James only scored 11 points and Avery Bradley's game-winning three pointer was the embodiment of the saying a shot "rattled home". We wish he could be here but we understand. They played a helluva game and they took it to us and we weren't able to stop the runs that they made, the momentum that they (built). "Everybody did their part". But Kevin (Love, 28 points) and Kyrie (Irving, 29 points) had it going early and they played well, so it kind of got him out of rhythm a little bit in that first half. LeBron finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting to go with six assists and six turnovers. On his way to the postgame news conference, the superstar got into an exchange with a fan who heckled him about his rough night.
When asked about James' performance, Smith said after practice: "Play confident". You let a team like that grab momentum you nearly knew a shot like that was going in..
So now the Cavs lead the series 2-1 and the Celtics will get at least one more game in Boston. Tristan Thompson scored 18 points. He said the absence of Thomas, who will miss the rest of the playoffs with a hip injury, may have helped inspire the team. Boston is a good three-point shooting team, they attempted the third most of any team in the league and hit 35.9 percent on the season (14th in the league), but for a half they got hot. They allowed offensive rebounds, played poor perimeter defense, and committed turnovers - all unusual things for this Cavaliers squad. "I think that when you play better, you feel better".
But James went just 4 of 13 from the field, missing all four 3-pointers.
Playing without All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas (injured right hip) who is out for the remainder of the playoffs, Boston didn't quit in the face of a hard situation. The Cleveland Cavaliers had a 21 point lead, but they blew it, according to ESPN. "It's our job to make sure that we defend him as best we can and just make every - take other guys out of the game". If it was going to happen, I'm glad that it happened now.