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Jae Crowder suffered left knee sprain, will undergo MRI 04.26.15 at 5:28 pm ET
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Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

As Celtics forward Jae Crowder battled for a rebound with Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith early in the third quarter, the latter swung his arm into the former’s face, sending Crowder to the ground as his leg buckled beneath him.

Crowder did not return to the game, and neither did Smith, who earned a “Flagrant 2″ foul, an ejection and possibly a suspension for his actions. For his part, Smith said, “There was nothing malicious about it. I didn’€™t try to do anything to hurt him or anybody else. That’€™s not the way I play the game.”

The initial diagnosis from doctors who examined Crowder is a left knee sprain, but the soon-to-be restricted free agent will undergo an MRI either on Sunday night or Monday morning to confirm there is no structural damage.

“I haven’t seen it, but we don’t know exactly what the deal is yet,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of Smith’s foul. “He had a lower leg potential injury as he fell, but he’s going to go get an MRI and everything else. I guess he got elbowed to the head, and that’s how he fell. I shouldn’t be saying that, because I couldn’t see the play from my vantage point, but that’s what I was told. It’s what I know.”

Following a successful run with the organization since coming to Boston in return for Rajon Rondo this past December, Crowder’s re-signing is expected to be among the C’s highest priorities this summer.

5 things we learned as Cavaliers sweep Celtics in not-so-grand finale 04.26.15 at 3:55 pm ET
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Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder said the Celtics wouldn’t go down without a fight, and he was right.

Crowder was involved in two of the half-dozen ugly dust-ups with the Cavaliers, ultimately leaving the game with an apparent knee injury in the ugliest of the bunch, but in the end it didn’t matter how much muscle his team flexed. Cleveland had LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, and in the end they were the difference-makers.

As they did all series, the Celtics spent the second half trying to erase a Cavs lead that had ballooned to double digits, and as was the case in their first three attempts, they fell short, losing the game 101-93 and the series 4-0.

James finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Irving added 24 points and 11 assists. Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas added 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds before fouling out. Avery Bradley (16 points) and Marcus Smart (11 points) also reached double figures.

For a complete box score, click here.

ROUGH START

Marcus Smart’s absence from shootaround wasn’t the only late wakeup call for the Celtics. Brad Stevens spent the better part of the past week trying to solve his team’s defensive rebounding woes, and within 95 seconds of Game 4 the Cavaliers are had their second offensive board — leading to five of Cleveland’s first seven points. As a result, Stevens called his quickest timeout as an NBA coach. The intervention on the bench did little to stop the bleeding, as the Cavs reached double-digits in second-chance points and built a 21-point lead by halftime.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA,
Jae Crowder knocked out of game with sprained left knee after J.R. Smith fist to jaw 04.26.15 at 2:51 pm ET
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A brutally physical game for Jae Crowder ended just 96 seconds into the second half Sunday in Game 4 against the Cavaliers.

J.R. Smith swung his elbow underneath the Celtics basket, and his fist connected with Jae Crowder, knocking out Crowder temporarily. But the bigger damage came as he fell to the floor. Crowder’s lower left leg bent underneath him as he fell, suffering a game-ending sprain.

Crowder was on the floor for several minutes before being helped up and assisted to the Celtics locker room, where the team ruled him out for the rest of the game.

Unlike Kendrick Perkins, who drilled Crowder with a forearm to the jaw in the second quarter on a screen, Smith was ejected with a “Flagrant 2″ foul.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Jae Crowder, Kendrick Perkins
Kevin Love suffers left shoulder injury and out for the game after getting caught up with Kelly Olynyk 04.26.15 at 1:27 pm ET
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With 5:22 left in the first quarter, Kevin Love was entangled with Kelly Olynyk on a fight for a loose ball rebound and appeared to seriously injure his left shoulder.

He raced immediately to the Cavaliers locker room, holding his left shoulder.

The Cavaliers announced before the end of the quarter he would not return.

Olynyk was called for the personal foul.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kelly Olynyk, Kevin Love
How sixth man Tristan Thompson continues to kill the Celtics off the bench 04.24.15 at 10:45 am ET
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Tristan Thompson (13) has been a force for the Cavaliers against the Celtics. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tristan Thompson (13) has been a force for the Cavaliers against the Celtics. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Coming into this series, the Celtics knew they were going to have their hands full with LeBron James. They knew Kyrie Irving could score and big man Kevin Love could knock down big shots from behind the arc. They were well aware of JR Smith and his streaky ability to catch fire in spurts. All four of those players have had big moments in the first three games.

But they may have underestimated the impact of Tristan Thompson.

As a matter of fact, he may be the difference in the series so far coming off Cleveland’s bench. Thompson has controlled the offensive glass and given the Cavaliers second chance after second chance. Against a team with the aforementioned weaponry, that’s a formula for disaster.

There was no better example than in the final three minutes Thursday after Evan Turner‘s three-ball drew the Celtics to within three, 95-92, with 2:45 left. The Celtics appeared to have stopped the Cavaliers on a missed runner from Irving. But there was Thompson, the 6-foot-9 space-eater in the paint. He hauled down the rebound and quickly found Irving again, who dished to Love for an open three on the left wing. Love, who had forever to set himself, knocked it down. 98-92, with just 2:13 left.

With 51.9 seconds left and the Cavs lead just five, 98-93, James missed a jumper but there was that big man in the middle again. Thompson found LeBron, who found Love again. Three-pointer. Ball game.

Thompson had five of Cleveland’s 11 offensive rebounds Thursday in the 103-95 Game 3 win. On Tuesday, he hauled in five of his team’s 12 second chance rebounds. That’s 10 offensive rebounds in a pair of eight-point wins.
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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Cleveland Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson
How Brad Stevens is making life very hard on Dave Blatt and his Cavaliers 04.24.15 at 9:16 am ET
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Give the Celtics this much: They’re making the first-round series hard for the heavily-favored Cavaliers.

After Thursday’s 103-95 win over the Celtics in Game 3, putting Cleveland up 3 games to none, Cavs coach Dave Blatt acknowledged the battle he’s getting from Brad Stevens, and the leadership he needs from LeBron James.

“I all fairness, we do have players that have been in this situation, that have played these kind of games,” Blatt said. “LeBron’€™s leadership obviously a huge factor, because he’€™s the guy that not only guys follow but they feel him, they sense him and his control in these games has been outstanding both in terms of seizing the moment, but also talking guys through situations.

“Coach [Stevens] is right. I think we have showed maturity and poise in how we are playing. This was not an easy game and honestly none of the three games have been easy. Coach Stevens is doing a terrific job with his team and they are competing and playing us tough as it should be in the playoffs.

“Obviously, the job’s not done. We have to win another game. One of the reasons we’ve won these games is that we have respected our opponent, not look past even the game in front of us. Understanding that if we do, we could put ourselves in trouble. We’re going to respect our opponent and come out and compete and play the best game we can possibly play on Sunday.”

What’s been the difference so far for Blatt’s Cavaliers?

“I think our maturity and the fact obviously that we have finishers on our team, guys that know how to finish games,” Blatt said. “Both teams are playing really hard. Both teams are competing. Both teams are very capable. I just think as team we have more maturity but that doesn’t guarantee anything. We’ve got to come out and win another game before I summarize the differences. We’re still in the fight. Boston’s not going away. They haven’t up to this point and they won’t. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

It was James who accompanied JR Smith to the Garden at 9 a.m. Thursday to get a jump start on the shootaround, trying to find the winning edge. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dave Blatt
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