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Cleveland Cavaliers Finally Lose in 2017 NBA Playoffs - This Is Sports Zone
 
 

After a blistering 10-0 start to their 2017 NBA playoff run that has seen them annihilate all comers, the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped game three of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Celtics after an Avery Bradley three pointer put the game away with less than a second to go for a final score of 111-108. The Celtics, who were utterly destroyed during the first two games of the series and who will be without Isaiah Thomas for the remainder of the series, were down by 21 points in the third quarter before they went on a 55-31 run the rest of the way.

LeBron James had one of the worst games of his postseason career, finishing with 11 points and six turnovers. On his way to the post game news conference, the superstar got into an exchange with a fan who heckled him about his rough night. It’s been a long time since LeBron had such little impact for his team. This performance ranks with the 2-of-18 shooting game in Boston in 2008, the mysterious, low-energy Game 5 against the Celtics in 2010, in which he was a stunning non factor, and the failure in Game 4 of the 2011 Finals in Dallas, when he managed just eight points, which was the most recent. Since then, James had become one of the most reliable postseason presences in the league, between what he did in last year’s NBA Finals, and racking up nine straight 30-point games over the last month to tie a Michael Jordan record and 10 straight games of 25 points and 50 percent shooting, a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar record.

Marcus Smart, who started in place of Thomas, made seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points, and Bradley had 20 for the Celtics, who were given little chance after losing by 44 in Game 2 and then losing Thomas for the rest of the postseason because of a hip injury.

Despite James’ struggles, the Cavs led 77-56 in the third quarter after making 14 3-pointers in the first half. But Cleveland got complacent, Smart got hot and the Celtics, who arrived at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday morning for their shootaround without Thomas and looking somewhat defeated, never gave up. The Celtics tied the Cavs at 95-all on Smart’s 3-pointer and then matched the James and Co. basket for basket in the final minutes in one of the most entertaining games of what has been a mostly boring postseason.

Boston’s Jonas Jerebko’s baseline jumper put the Celtics ahead 108-106 with 30 seconds left before Irving scored on a drive to tie it with 10.7 seconds left. Following a timeout, the Celtics perfectly executed a play drawn up by Stevens and worked the ball to Bradley, who found himself open and then calmly knocked down a shot that goes straight into Celtics lore. For Cleveland, the loss was a wake-up call on their march toward a possible third straight Finals and a seemingly inevitable rematch with Golden State. The Cavs had been playing a glorified game of H.O.R.S.E. with the Warriors, who are undefeated and can complete a sweep of San Antonio on Monday night.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love had 28 for Cleveland, who took their first postseason loss since game four of last year’s Finals.

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