National Basketball Association
Preview
Boston at Cleveland
When: 8:30 PM ET, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

The Boston Celtics recorded an improbable victory to get back in the series and now attempt to even it up when they visit the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics appeared ready to go down meekly after losing star point guard Isaiah Thomas but instead posted a final-second 111-108 victory on Sunday to trim their deficit to 2-1.

Thomas (hip) is done for the postseason, so it was backcourt mate Avery Bradley taking the big shot and delivering the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to cap a comeback from a 21-point, third-quarter deficit. "We were playing way better. I don't know how to phrase it other than that - we were playing way better," Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters of the difference between Sunday's win and a 44-point loss in Game 2. "We were getting good shots on offense and playing with great purpose, and on defense I thought we were much better than the score indicated. I think that when you play better, you feel better." The top-seeded Celtics broke the Cavaliers' record-tying 13-game postseason winning streak and limited red-hot forward LeBron James to 11 points, his fourth-lowest output in 210 career playoff games. "I had a tough game, period," James told reporters. "I didn't have it. That's all I've got to say about my performance."

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT

ABOUT THE CELTICS: Marcus Smart was a nonfactor by averaging five points on 2-of-11 shooting over the first two games but he stepped up with Thomas out and put on a spectacular performance. The third-year guard was 7-of-10 from 3-point range while producing 27 points and seven assists and putting forth his typical feisty effort that grates on opposing players. "Everybody had to step up their game, especially with one of our brothers down," Smart told reporters. "Our love and support goes out to Isaiah. We wish he could be here but we understand. We just kept fighting. Everybody did their part."

ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: James was on a tear with eight consecutive 30-points efforts and was averaging 34.3 points before he basically disappeared in the second half by missing eight of nine shots and finishing 4-of-13 from the field. He was testy after Sunday's game and then avoided reporters on Monday to leave his teammates and coach Tyronn Lue to explain his dreadful performance "No blame," Lue told reporters. "We're all to blame. We lost; it happens. For a guy who played great for five straight months, he's got to have a bad game sooner or later. He's human. He didn't shoot the ball well. It wasn't his ordinary game."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. James' Game 3 point total was his lowest in 107 career home playoff games.

2. Boston C Al Horford is just 15-of-38 from the field in the series.

3. Cleveland PF Kevin Love is averaging 27 points and 11.3 rebounds in the series while making 17-of-31 3-point attempts.

PREDICTION: Cavaliers 118, Celtics 104
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Boston 62-36 W1 35-15 27-21 6-4 56-32 11-5 45-23
Cleveland 61-32 L1 35-11 26-21 7-3 54-29 12-8 45-18
Last Meeting
Boston Cleveland
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
5/21/17 BOS 111 CLE 108 111 38 46.2 108 46 45.7
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Boston M. Smart 27 57.1 4
Cleveland K. Irving 29 66.7 5
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Boston J. Crowder 11 2 9
Cleveland T. Thompson 13 7 6
Assists Player  
Boston M. Smart 7
Cleveland K. Irving 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Boston I. Thomas 2610 45.8 698
Cleveland L. James 2348 55.1 444
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Boston A. Horford 606 128 478
Cleveland T. Thompson 838 343 495
Assists Player  
Boston I. Thomas 560
Cleveland L. James 733
Quickchart Matchup
Boston Boston Off vs  Cleveland Cleveland Defense
Boston Off vs Cleveland - Points For 107.7 Points For
Boston Off vs Cleveland - Points Against 106.7 Points Against
Boston - FG% 45.5 FG%
Cleveland - FG% 45.7 FG%
Boston - Reb 41.4 Reb
Cleveland - Reb 43.6 Reb
Cleveland Cleveland Off vs  Boston Boston Defense
Cleveland Off vs Boston - Points For 111.0 Points For
Cleveland Off vs Boston - Points Against 105.5 Points Against
Cleveland - FG% 47.3 FG%
Boston - FG% 45.2 FG%
Cleveland - Reb 43.6 Reb
Boston - Reb 44.7 Reb