Facing a must-win situation, Cleveland got contributions from everyone in their rotation. The Cavaliers will look to carry that along in Game 4, but first here are the player grades for their Game 3 victory over the Celtics, 116-86.
George Hill: A+
After hearing all the negative comments from the media about Hill’s play, he sure came out to play in Game 3. The Cavs’ point guard started with an easy layup and then a corner three-pointer and it foreshadowed an effective night ahead. Hill’s on-ball actions with James and Love really opened up the floor for everyone and should be emphasized in Game 4.
LeBron James: A
James’ passing was on full display tonight, peppering assists with either hand to Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson, as they dove to the basket. His efficiency from the field was fantastic, scoring 27 points on 12 shots. His balance of being aggressive and finding his teammates was pivotal to an easy victory.
J.R. Smith: B+
After every three-pointer that Smith knocked down, he turned and reacted like he was fully expecting it to go in. After a horrendous stretch in Boston, Smith looked far more engaged on defense and aggressive on offense. If the Cavaliers can continue to get this version of Smith for the rest of the series, it could vault them into the NBA Finals.
Larry Nance Jr.: B+
Getting a healthy, February-like Larry Nance Jr. is really important to Cleveland. After his hamstring injuries late in the regular season, Nance Jr. was never able to be a significant contributor in the rotation. The way that the ex-Laker rolled to the basket, finished easy buckets and grabbed rebounds looked a lot like himself before the injuries.
Kyle Korver: B
Korver was fantastic in the fourth quarter — after the game was mostly over. Hopefully his blazing hot 100 percent three-point shooting will carry over into Game 4.
Tristan Thompson: B
Similar to Nance Jr., Thompson was fantastic rolling to the rim, creating extra possessions and wreaking havoc on the defensive end. These are minutes that the Cavs will need from Thompson heading into the final four games of this series.
Kevin Love: B-
Love’s shot wasn’t falling, but he battled on the glass and the defensive end of the floor. When the Cavs’ power forward has more rebounds than points, it shows how engaged he is, even if his shot isn’t falling.
Jordan Clarkson: C+
In garbage time, Clarkson managed to hit a few shots from three-point range, hopefully that’ll get him going in this series. After turning in a DNP on Tuesday night, Clarkson returned to the lineup, adding 9 points.
Jeff Green: C
Jeff Green showed up? I mean I don’t really remember a highlight play from Green, even on a night when the Cavs won by a large margin.