In the midst of an incredibly predictable Conference finals, the underdog finally comes away with an upset. The Cleveland Cavaliers were favored by 17 points which marks the largest upset in the playoffs this year. Boston trailed early but stormed back to see Avery Bradley hit a game-winning three in the final seconds to secure the 111-108 victory.
Boston Celtics 111 – Cleveland Cavaliers 108
After trailing mightily throughout the entire game, Boston slowly made their way back into this one late. They were down by as much as 21 points but made their run at the end of the third quarter. With Cleveland ahead 77-56 with 6:39 to go in the third, Boston called a full timeout and figured out the formula to make their comeback. In just three minutes, the Celtics went on a 16-5 run to get them right back in it. Their confidence began to grow as they cut the Cavaliers lead down to five points by the end of the quarter. The two teams were fairly even during most of the fourth quarter but Boston made more shots at the end of the game. The biggest of them all came from Avery Bradley. The game was tied at 108-108 with ten seconds to go and the possession of the ball in Boston’s hands. Coach Brad Stevens drew up a perfect play to get Avery Bradley a wide open three with Al Horford setting a great screen to clear out any incoming defenders. Bradley took the wide open three and literally bounced it home to give Boston the lead with .1 seconds to go. The game was practically over at that point.
Here’s the game winner.
The great coaching and effort by Boston turned ultimately became the difference. Marcus Smart is the hard working guard for the Celtics and led Boston to their comeback. The young point guard was responsible for replacing Isiah Thomas in the starting lineup. Smart did not start many games this year, mainly due to the depth at the guard position for Boston. He looked like a seasoned veteran as he scored 27 points while shooting 7-of-10 from three. Not only did he do his part on the scoreboard but also dished seven assists and grabbing five rebounds. This is by far the best game in the biggest moment of Smart’s career.
Lebron James did not have one of his memorable games. Scoring just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting, James scored his lowest point total in his last 58 playoff games. Down the stretch, the team relied more on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to close out Boston. They both did what they could do as Irving finished with 29 points while Love scored 28. The Cavaliers just couldn’t keep up with the intensity and desperation of the Celtics. James could have taken more control down the stretch with just three shots attempted in the fourth quarter. Had this series been closer, maybe Lebron would have been the star in the fourth. Instead, Cleveland showed a lack of effort in the waning moments and found a way to lose their first game of the series at home. This could be a wake-up call for Cleveland but also a boost of confidence for the Celtics. Game four will get underway Tuesday night in Cleveland.