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Richard Jefferson: LeBron James was sick during Game 3 05.24.17 at 11:58 am ET
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LeBron James apparently was sick during Game 3. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James apparently was sick during Game 3. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James seemingly disappeared in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, finishing the game with only 11 points.

This came after he was dominant in Games 1 and 2, but his subpar performance in Game 3 might have had more to do with James’ health rather than the Celtics’ defense. 

In a postgame interview with Fox Sports Ohio after Game 4, Richard Jefferson gave some details.

“I know he won’t talk about it, so I will give my big guy shot,” Jefferson said. “Deron Williams missed shoot around this morning because he had a little bug, just really lethargic, had no energy. I think that is what Bron had.

“Sometimes these little bugs go around. When Deron didn’t show up to shoot around it started clicking in his head. For him it was I don’t know why I was so lethargic, why I had no energy; I had nothing. These little things happen, it was no panic. Look [Lebron] was lethargic, they hit a bunch of tough shots. If Marcus Smart doesn’t go 7-of-10 from three were not even talking about it.”

James struggled in the first half of Game 4 by racking up four fouls, but he would go on to score 34 points in 38 minutes as the Cavs took a commanding three games to one series lead.

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Eastern Conference finals, LeBron James
Celtics conduct FaceTime call with injured star Isaiah Thomas after miraculous comeback against Cavaliers 05.22.17 at 6:08 pm ET
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Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas

CLEVELAND — Isaiah Thomas may be gone, but he’s not forgotten.

In the moments after the Celtics completed a remarkable comeback victory over the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night, forward Kelly Olynyk decided to get Thomas on a FaceTime connection to celebrate.

Thomas is out for the playoffs with a hip injury and did not accompany the team to Cleveland, but he was with them in spirit, and then with them via video connection in the victorious locker room, as his teammates relayed after Monday’s practice.

“He was just happy. He was happy. He was excited,” said Avery Bradley, whose buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the C’s the 111-108 win. “He sent everybody a text, and then Kelly just called him, or he might have been calling Kelly right after the game, so it was nice to see a smile on his face. I just wish he was here.”

The heart and soul of the Celtics, Thomas endured the death of his sister, the loss of a tooth followed by extensive dental surgery, and then finally the hip condition that had bothered him since March before shutting it down.

The Celtics found a way without him.

“It’s very different,” Thomas said. “But all we can do is play hard for him. Like I said, he was excited with the way that we played. We’re a family, and other guys got opportunities to step up for us, and Marcus [Smart] had a big game for us and it could be somebody else next game.”

Smart was happy to play his part, and even happier to share it with Thomas, even if only on a screen.

“He’s ecstatic,” Smart said. “I told him I channeled my inner IT, and he kind of laughed a little bit. It felt good. It felt good to see him smile. He’s been down with everything he’s been going through, and then for him not to be here, I know that hurts him even more. So to see him happy and smiling, it was a good feeling for us.”

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Eastern Conference finals, Game 3 comeback
Sensitive superstar? LeBron James blasts reporter after game: ‘You only ask questions when we lose’ at 9:31 am ET
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LeBron James does not like being questioned after losses by the likes of you, Kenny.

That’s not some obscure South Park reference. It’s what happened after the Celtics dealt the Cavaliers their first loss of the postseason on Sunday night with an epic comeback, and a Cleveland radio reporter decided to ask The King a slightly negative question.

Kenny Roda of WHBC in Canton, Ohio asked James two questions — what happened to the defense in the third and fourth quarters, and then one about James struggling.

“You couldn’t get into a rhythm tonight based on their defense or just not feeling it, or what?” he asked.

James did not take kindly to the followup.

“I was just pretty poor. What do you want me to say?” he said. “It seems you like you only ask questions when we lose, huh? It’s this weird thing with you, Kenny. You always come around when we lose. That’s fine. Yeah, OK.”

Roda took to Twitter to defense himself, noting that he has attended every home game this postseason. “Ask questions win or lose,” he Tweeted.

That’s not the way James sees it. After leaving the podium, he continued to complain loudly about Roda in a hallway outside the interview room.

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Kenny Roda, LeBron James
Marcus Smart delivers game of his life in place of Isaiah Thomas to lift Celtics past Cavaliers in Game 3 at 2:12 am ET
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Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) celebrates after the Celtics beat the Cavaliers on Sunday. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) celebrates after the Celtics beat the Cavaliers on Sunday. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — Now that’s the Marcus Smart we could get used to.

Starting in place of injured point guard Isaiah Thomas, who will miss the rest of the postseason with a hip injury, Smart delivered the best game of his career, scoring 27 points, making seven 3-pointers, and setting up Avery Bradley for the buzzer-beating game-winner in Boston’s 111-108 victory.

“We can talk about his shooting all year long, but you know when it’s in a big moment, that kid is going to rise to the occasion,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “He just always has. That’s one of the reasons why if he goes through a funk at some time in March, shoot yourself out of it, and we believe in you, and let it fly. Because in this moment when we needed him the most, he made huge shots. He was terrific tonight.”

Smart played all but 38 seconds in the second half, scoring 21 points. Most of his 3-pointers weren’t of the wide-open variety, either. He dazzled with pull-ups off the dribble, as well as a slick between-the-legs, behind-the-back step-back over J.R. Smith to tie the game at 95 with a little over five minutes left.

“Marcus just kind of led us,” Stevens said. “One of the things about Marcus is he’s going to play regardless of the score. Like you mentioned to me, he’s going to compete, and sometimes he’ll try to hit home runs because that’s — and then we talk about those after the game and we always say, and it’s true, those are his greatest strengths. He is a true competitor. He’s a tough guy.”

The Celtics needed it, because without Thomas, they lacked their heart and soul.

“He was aggressive from the beginning of the game,” Bradley said. “That’s what we needed him to be. A lot of people counted us out with Isaiah not being here, and he is a big part of this team. But Smart took this opportunity to come out and be aggressive on both ends of the floor and make plays.”

Smart said he didn’t try to change his mindset in place of Thomas, except to take any extra pressure off himself.

“Coming in, I just kept telling myself, you have nothing to lose, just go out there and play,” Smart said. “You’ve been working hard throughout this whole year on your game. Just let it flow and let it show. These guys and the coaching staff did a really good job of just encouraging me, especially when my shot hasn’t been falling. Free throws, missing those. They’ve just really been on me, staying on me to stay positive and keep going.”

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Eastern Conference finals, Marcus Smart
Former Celtics great Paul Pierce takes credit for team earning No. 1 pick 05.16.17 at 9:21 pm ET
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Paul Pierce may have finished his career with the Nets, Wizards, and Clippers, but he’ll always be a member of the Celtics.

On Tuesday, the recently retired future Hall of Famer took to Twitter after the Celtics won the NBA draft lottery for the first time and earned the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Pierce is referring, of course, to the masterful trade that sent him to the Nets, along with Kevin Garnett, for four No. 1 picks in 2013. Pierce has ridden off into the sunset, but the Celtics continue to reap the benefits of that deal.

Read More: Celtics, NBA draft lottery, Nets, Paul Pierce
Celtics 123, Wizards 111: Down 16-0, C’s come roaring back to take Game 1 of Eastern Conference semifinals 04.30.17 at 3:45 pm ET
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Marcus Smart reacts after making a 3-pointer against the Wizards on Sunday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Marcus Smart reacts after making a 3-pointer against the Wizards on Sunday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

One down, three more to go. 

The Celtics erased a 17-point first half deficit and topped the Wizards, 123-111 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Behind 33 points from grieving star Isaiah Thomas and another near triple-double from big man Al Horford, the Celtics overcame a 16-0 deficit and blitzed the Wizards at a raucous TD Garden.

The Wizards wasted no time sucking the life out of the TD Garden with a 16-0 run to open the game en route to a 20-3 lead. It took nearly four minutes for the Celtics to score their first points — Thomas made three free throws to put his team on the board before having one of his front teeth knocked out. 

He finished the quarter with 12 of the Celtics’ 24 points while the Wizards tacked on 38. Kelly Olynyk was a spark off the bench with 10 points in the opening frame but it did little to extinguish Washington’s sizzling offense. 

However, the Celtics didn’t need much time to erase the deficit. They kicked off the second quarter with a 16-4 run, tying the game at 42 with 7:41 left in the first half and by halftime only trailed the Wizards by five (64-59).

Jae Crowder’s 3-pointer from the corner gave the Boston their first lead of the night — 73-71 — with 6:54 left in the third quarter, starting a 16-4 run and swung the momentum into the hands of the Celtics. Thomas poured in 31 points before the final frame and bounced back from his poor outside shooting in the first round by draining 5-of-9 from behind the arc. 

The Wizards scored only 16 points in the third quarter and faced a 15-point hole. 

From there it was a shootout. Rookie Jaylen Brown, who hasn’t seen meaningful minutes in four straight games, checked in with under six minutes left and made an immediate impact. He drained a corner 3-pointer on one possession and found Crowder (24 points, 6 3-pointers) behind the arc on the very next. Although Bradley Beal responded to both with a 3 of his own, Horford (21 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists) made an open jumper, pushing the lead to 116-105. 

With under two minutes left, the Celtics converted turnovers into 3-pointers and easy layups and cruised victory.

On the afternoon, the Celtics made 19 of 39 3-pointers.

Read More: Al Horford, Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Wizards
Isaiah Thomas loses tooth in first quarter vs. Wizards at 1:41 pm ET
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Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) knocks Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) into center Al Horford (42) while trying to steal the ball during the first half in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Wizards guard John Wall (2) knocks Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) into center Al Horford (42) in Game 1 of their second round series on Sunday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas lost one of his front teeth while chasing Otto Porter around a screen in the first quarter of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday at TD Garden.

Thomas was peeling around Wizards center Marcin Gortat when he appeared to catch an elbow from Porter near the free throw line. His front left tooth flew out of his mouth and Thomas retrieved it from the floor before handing it to someone on the bench, who wrapped it in a towel.

Thomas continued to play without the tooth or a mouth guard, and it didn’t affect his shooting stroke, as he raced to 12 quick points.

Unfortunately, the Celtics started the game ice-cold, watching the Wizards score 16 straight points before Thomas put the Celtics on the board with three free throws. The Wizards led 38-24 after the first quarter.

According to ABC’s broadcast, Dr. Brian McKeon, the Celtics team physician, reattached Thomas’s tooth in the second quarter and he continued to play.

Read More: Celtics, Isaiah Thomas tooth,
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