The Boston Celtics keep coming at you. It might be arms to the face. It might be Hack-A-Tristan. Their rotation is deep. They have a lot of functional NBA players.
They don't have anyone like LeBron James, or Kevin Love, or Kyrie Irving. And Tristan Thompson is more than happy to match their energy. The gimmicks and the physical play wasn't enough to topple the Cavs. In their first road test of the NBA playoffs, the Cavs won another game. They earned this one, and there'll be some bruises tomorrow to show for it.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers 103, the Boston Celtics 95. The Cavs now lead the series 3-0 and will have the chance to close it out in Boston on Sunday afternoon. It's likely they'll be motivated to do just that.
The first thing worth mentioning is defense. The Cavs matched the Celtics intensity on that end, and despite what might have been the quickest pace of any game in the series, held the Celtics under 100 points. Isaiah Thomas, who had kept the Cavs on their heels in games one and two was limited. He finished with five points on nine shots. It's a team effort, but Kyrie Irving did a nice job with him.
Evan Turner and Jae Crowder had productive games, but those guys aren't offensively skilled. The Cavaliers are going to let those guys try and beat them. They played above their heads a little bit. Jae Crowder doesn't often tally 16 points on six shots. But if he is the guy that beats you, you live with that.
LeBron James, who put together a fantastic performance. He played 42 minutes in this one, finishing with 31 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals, two blocks, and just two turnovers. He was active and engaged. Each time the Celtics took a shot at the Cavs, sometimes literally, James stepped up with a nice run. The Cavs took an eight point advantage into the half after a late James rally.
Kevin Love continues to play well in the postseason. He is developing great synergy with LeBron James, which makes sense because they are two of the smartest players in the NBA. When teams throw a double team at James, Love finds his spot and is ready to knock down the jumper. He can take advantage of guys like Turner and Jonas Jerekbo in the post. He finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one turnover. The Cavs needed all of it.
Tristan Thompson was indispensable. 12 points, seven rebounds, five offensive, two blocks, and he made free throws when Boston went to fouling him on purpose in the first half. When James and Irving's jump shots failed them a bit in the fourth quarter, Thompson fought for extra possessions once more.
Irving struggled offensively, Shumpert pitched in defensively, and J.R. Smith started to get his jump shot back a little. At the end of the day, it's another win. One more and the Cavs will be in the second round.