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Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - 5/25/17 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

26 May 2017, 12:52 | Nina Perez

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Loading Le Bron James in action for the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Boston Celtics yesertday

A bad second half cost the Cavs in Game 3, and the poor play carried over into the first half Tuesday night, with Cleveland trailing the Boston Celtics by 10 at halftime. It's the Eastern Conference finals.

The defending National Basketball Association champions, who shot 71 percent in the second half, opened a 3-1 lead in the series and can wrap up their third straight conference title - and a "three-match" against the Warriors - with a win in Game 5 on Thursday night in Boston.

It was a stellar performance from Irving, who took over after James got into foul trouble early.

Irving scored 36 points after that, including 21 during a game-turning third quarter in which Cleveland outscored the Celtics 40-23.

So fans' reaction on Twitter was a bit more relaxed. although James did take some abuse for missing a wide-open dunk that would have given the Cavs the lead in the third quarter. Irving eventually finished with 42 points.

Forget playing like he had throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Led by five triples from power forward Kevin Love, the Cavaliers knocked down nine of their 13 looks from three-point range (69.2 percent) and hit 11 of their 17 overall shots from the field on the way to a 35-24 lead after the first quarter.

James, determined to bounce back after a poor 11-point haul in Game 3, then steadied the Cleveland nerves in the fourth quarter, bringing the Cavaliers home for the win as Boston's fearless effort came up short. He knows that. We know that. He rolled it late in the third quarter of Game 4 when he stepped on Terry Rozier's foot. He shot 15 of 27 from the field Tuesday and closed the game with 15 points in the fourth, including a 3-pointer with 3:52 remaining for a 106-97 lead. But the exhausted cliché of "that's why they play the games" unfolded surprisingly over the final 18 minutes, and now we might have a series, right?

Cavaliers: Irving scored 41 in Game 5 of last year's Finals.

"I mean, a game like that just happens", Lue said. "Crowder. So, they got a lot of tough guys that are going to compete so they're making us compete, which is good for us".

"As we all know, a 10-point lead at halftime is nothing, especially against those guys", said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. They're 5-4 in the postseason so far. Johnson was replaced in the starting lineup for Game 2 by Gerald Green, but after a 44-point loss and with Thomas out, Stevens went back to Johnson in Game 3. Cavs G J.R. Smith and his wife brought home from the hospital their baby daughter Dakota, who had been in a Cleveland-area NICU since her birth in January. Smith posted photos on his Instagram account of the couple leaving Hillcrest Hospital with their baby in a stroller. "It's going to take a full 48-minute game to do it".

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