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Kyrie Irving (42 points) saves Cavaliers, Celtics can’t hold 16-point lead 05.23.17 at 10:54 pm ET
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May 23, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives to the basket in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics in game four of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving drives to the basket against the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Kyrie Irving saved LeBron James, Ty Lue and the city of Cleveland from a total state of panic Tuesday night. 

With James saddled with four first-half fouls for the first time in his career and the Cavaliers staring a second straight shocking home loss to the Celtics in the face, Irving took over with 21 of his playoff career-high 42 points in an amazing third-quarter display to lead the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena. 

The Celtics, who led by as many as 16 in the first half before a shell-shocked crowd, will try to stave off elimination Thursday night in Game 5 of the Eastern finals at TD Garden. 

“That stings when you can’t pull those out,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We put together a lot of good basketball here. We didn’t put enough of it together tonight to win the game.”

Irving, on the other hand, put forward his best career postseason performance when his team desperately needed it. And on top of it all, Irving played the entire fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle when he stepped on Terry Rozier on a drive to the basket. 

“In the back of my mind, I’m saying to myself, ‘They cannot tie up this series.'” Irving said. “This Celtics team is not going to give up”

James, who was scoreless in the fourth quarter Sunday in Game 3, had 15 of his 34 points in the final period.

The Cavs came out and turned again to Kevin Love, who hit the game’s first basket, a three. Cleveland scored the game’s first five points. 

Then the Celtics took over, scoring 11 straight points and to take all the energy out of QuickenLoans Arena. 

LeBron James continued his disengaged play of Sunday night, settling for threes and missing them. Love did find James with his trademark length-of-the-court pass and James delivered with a one-handed jam to cut Boston’s lead to 18-13. 

The only bit of troubling news in the first quarter for the Celtics were the two fouls apiece called on Jae Crowder and Al Horford. Crowder stayed in the game to guard LeBron. 

The Celtics led 29-19 after one quarter.  

(For a complete box score, click here.)

The Cavaliers showed a little spark with a transition-inspired rally. James started to get to the basket for layups. 

Momentum continued to roll in the Celtics’ favor in the second quarter, as they built their lead up to 49-33 on threes from Terry Rozier and Avery Bradley. At that precise moment, the Celtics had outscored the Cavs, 105-64, since trailing 77-56 midway through the third quarter of Game 3. 

But without question, the biggest storyline was the foul trouble of LeBron James. After getting called for a highly questionable third personal foul on a touch foul of Marcus Smart shooting a three with 8:55 left in the second quarter. But Ty Lue decided to keep him in the game. 

That move backfired when James bowled over Rozier in the lane for his fourth foul with 6:46 left in the second quarter and the Celtics up, 43-33. James, with four first-half fouls for the first time in his career, sat for the remainder of the half. Down 49-33, it was Irving to the rescue, who scored the next 10 points in a 10-2 Cleveland run. 

The Cavs had the lead down to six before the Celtics finished the half on a 6-2 spurt for a 57-47 advantage. Without Isaiah Thomas for a second straight game, ball movement for the Celtics was outstanding. In the first half, the Celtics had 17 assists on 21 field goals.

“I thought we played as well as maybe we have the entire playoffs during the first half,” Stevens said.

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Read More: 2017 Eastern Conference finals, 2017 NBA Playoffs, Al Horford, Avery Bradley
Celtics prove why they’re one of the best teams in 4th quarter in win over Cavaliers 03.01.17 at 11:42 pm ET
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Mar 1, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) looks to make a pass while guarded by Boston Celtics shooting forward Jaylen Brown (7) during the fourth quarter at TD Garden.  The Boston Celtics won 103-99.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Stevens reinserted Avery Bradley towards the end of the 4th quarter to help slow down Kyrie Irving (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today)

Early Wednesday afternoon, Brad Stevens issued a plan of attack and that evening his team executed it and turned it into one of their most impressive wins of the season.

Wednesday night’s 103-99 win over the Cavaliers was a testament to how tough the Celtics can be in the fourth quarter.

Even with their best scorer not hitting shots (1-of-4), the Celtics rallied behind defensive stops by Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley instead of relying on Isaiah Thomas to keep them in the game.

Facing a two-point deficit, Smart drew back-to-back offensive fouls against the Cavaliers before Jae Crowder (17 points) drained a 3-pointer under two minutes to go. Then, it was Bradley’s turn as he rattled Kyrie Irving (28 points) and drained a 3-pointer on the other end to keep his team ahead. 

Out of a Cavaliers timeout, Cleveland set up sharp shooter Kyle Korver for an open 3-pointer before Thomas drained his only field goal of the fourth quarter. Irving responded with a reverse layup to tie the game (99-99) before Thomas drew a shooting foul and drained a pair of free-throws to put the C’s ahead, 101-99.

LeBron James (28 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) passed up an opportunity to tie the game by passing the ball to Deron Williams, who missed the potential game-winning 3-pointer. 

For a full box score and summary of Wednesday’s game vs. Cleveland, click here.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas loses tiebreaker, so Celtics guard won’t start All-Star Game 01.19.17 at 9:57 pm ET
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Isaiah Thomas has earned superstar status. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas has earned superstar status. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas feeds off doubters, which means he won’t be going hungry this All-Star season.

Starters were announced for the NBA All-Star Game on Thursday, and Thomas wasn’t among them. The Celtics guard, who currently ranks fourth in the NBA in scoring, lost a tiebreaker to Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and will likely be a reserve when full rosters are announced.

In the voting of fans, players, and media, Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was the runaway winner. Thomas actually won the media vote, but DeRozan prevailed among fans and players, leaving the two deadlocked. Because the fan vote counts for 50 percent of the total, it was the first tiebreaker, and DeRozan outpaced Thomas there by just over 40,000 votes, 796,122-755,102 to claim the starting nod.

Regardless, it’s been a monster first half for the diminutive star, who’s averaging 28.7 points per game, including a league-best 10.1 in the fourth quarter.

Thomas wasn’t the only star snubbed. In the Western Conference, MVP candidate Russell Westbrook will be a reserve, despite averaging a triple-double thus far (30.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 10.4 assists). The starting guard slots in the West went to Golden State’s Steph Curry and Houston’s James Harden.

The other Eastern Conference starters are Cleveland’s LeBron James, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the West, Curry and Harden will be joined by San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis.

Read More: All-Star rosters, Celtics, DeMar DeRozan, Greek Freak
It appears Jeff Green can still dunk 08.19.13 at 12:09 pm ET
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The NBA recently released a highlight reel of the Top 10 Celtics plays from the 2012-13 NBA season, and four of them involved Jeff Green at the rim. Then, over the weekend, Green participated in Jamal Crawford‘€™s Pro Am in Seattle and unleashed another fury of dunks (h/t Red’s Army). Apparently, Jeff Green can dunk. Who knew?

Remember the “better without Rajon Rondo” contingent that cited the point guard’s absence as the reason for Green’s emergence? Those were the days. Anyway, Green coexisted just fine with Kyrie Irving, Tony Wroten and Abdul Gaddy in this exhibition. If nothing else, the Top 10 Celtics plays from 2013-14 should be pretty special.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jeff Green, Kyrie Irving, NBA
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce back at practice, Avery Bradley (collarbone) sits 04.06.13 at 12:29 pm ET
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Just over 12 hours after a humbling loss to the Cavaliers at the Garden, the Celtics got a boost at practice in Waltham when Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce returned from separate foot injuries.

Garnett has missed the last eight games due to inflammation from bone spurs in his left ankle. The Celtics have gone 3-5 in his absence as they look to lock up the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and avoid the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

‘€œI’€™ve never come into postseason 100 percent, so it’€™s nothing new,” Garnett told reporters. “But I do want a rhythm. I don’€™t want to go into the postseason and have no rhythm. I want to be healthy. That’€™s my first priority.”

Garnett said when and how much he plays in the final six games will be decided after a discussion that includes himself, coach Doc Rivers and medical staff.

“I’€™m going to practice today and Doc and I will have a conversation and make some decisions for the future.’€

Avery Bradley, however, did not take part, as he was still nursing soreness from taking an elbow to his left collarbone from Kyrie Irving in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game.

Rivers told reporters before Saturday’s practice that he anticipates Bradley would be available for Sunday’s game against Washington but would not predict anything further, adding, “you just never know.”

Pierce missed Friday’s game due to soreness and swelling in his right ankle, which first cropped up in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s loss to the Knicks in New York, when he was spotted with a wrap on the ankle.

Pierce missed Monday’s game in Minnesota due to the birth of his first son, Prince Paul Pierce before returning on Wednesday in a win over Detroit. Pierce was held out of Friday’s game by Rivers on the advice of trainer Ed Lacerte.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Ed Lacerte
Avery Bradley: ‘Just my collarbone… I’ll be fine’ 04.05.13 at 11:19 pm ET
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With just over three minutes left in Friday’s ugly loss to the Cavaliers at TD Garden, things appeared to be getting a whole lot uglier for the Celtics.

Avery Bradley left the court with trainer Ed Lacerte holding his left shoulder.

Bradley had surgery on both shoulders last summer, delaying his return to the Celtics until January this season.

But as it turned out, Bradley was examined and returned to the bench late in the fourth quarter. Doc Rivers said he could’ve returned if absolutely necessary.

So, what was it that caused many Celtics fans to skip a heart beat?

He was elbowed in the collarbone by Kyrie Irving.

‘€œI think he’€™s fine,” Rivers said. “I think it was more the hit. I was concerned when he grabbed his shoulder that it was his shoulder, and Kyrie informed me that he shot him with an elbow; it had nothing to do with the shoulder. So, I told Kyrie, ‘€˜Thank you for the update.’€™’€

Bradley admitted after the game that he was sore but it’s nothing to be concerned about.

‘€œIt hurts, but I’€™ll be fine,” Bradley said. “I get injured all the time, I’€™ll be alright.’€

Most importantly, he confirmed that it wasn’t his shoulder.

‘€œNo, not at all,” Bradley said. “Just my collarbone. He came, went to the basket, came down, and elbowed me right on my collarbone. It’€™s just a little swelling.’€

‘€œNo, when that happens you just have got to keep playing.’€

Was Bradley aware he gave Celtics fans a scare?

“Yeah, I know, me too,” Bradley said. “But I’€™m fine.’€

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving, NBA
Running on empty: Cavs outmuscle shorthanded Celtics at 9:55 pm ET
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Life without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett was ugly Friday night. Very ugly.

Second-year big man Tristan Thompson scored 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds while the Celtics went ice cold in the second half and fell to the lowly Cavaliers, 97-91, Friday night at TD Garden. Pierce missed the game with a sore right ankle while Garnett missed his eighth straight game with inflammation in his left ankle. Cleveland won two of the three meetings this season between the two.

The Cavaliers used the Celtics to snap their 10-game losing streak while Boston fell for the third time in four games. The Celtics fell to 39-37 on the season but did not lose any ground on eight-place Milwaukee, which lost to the Knicks in New York. Boston remains in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of the Bucks in the loss column. Boston has six games remaining, including two games on its current four-game homestand. Jeff Green led the Celtics with 23 points and nine rebounds.

In a first half of unknown and unlikely heroes, it was Tristan Thompson became the latest opposing big man to dominate the Celtics inside. Behind Thompson’s career high in points and rebounds, the Cavaliers outscored the Celtics 52-38 in the paint and outrebounded Boston, 58-42.

Thompson, the second-year player out of Texas, scored 21 points and hauled in 11 rebounds in the first two quarters, as the Cavaliers (23-52) erased an eight-point deficit early in the second quarter, using a 10-0 run to forge a 52-52 halftime tie.

Shav Randolph had the best first half of his NBA career, scoring a career-high 13 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first 15 minutes of the game. But as has often been the case in his short stint with the Celtics, foul trouble limited his time on the court as he picked up three first-half fouls.

The Celtics built a seven-point lead, 62-55, on an Avery Bradley three with 8:13 left in the third. But then the wheels fell off as the Celtics went ice cold. Boston was just 6-for-27 (27.3 percent) from the field. Cleveland went on a 19-3 run to take a 74-65 lead before Jordan Crawford hit a three to cut Cleveland’s lead to 74-68 heading into the fourth.

But Cleveland scored the first eight points of the fourth to take a 14-point lead. Randolph picked up two fouls in a minute in the third quarter and then fouled out with 6:57 left in the fourth. Randolph finished with a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds.

Jason Terry hit a baseline three with 5:46 left to bring Boston within four, 87-83, as the crowd became a factor again. But Thompson’s put-back dunk with five minutes left answered the Celtics run, putting Cleveland back up by six.

With 3:18 left in the game and the Celtics down eight, 91-83, Bradley left the game and headed for the locker room with trainer Ed Lacerte. He suffered a bruised left collar bone and returned to the bench with two minutes left in regulation but did not play. With 2:09 left in the game Green completed a three-point play to draw Boston within four again, 91-87 but an easy alley-oop layup by Tyler Zeller and a jumper by Kyrie Irving with 1:22 left put Cleveland up, 95-87.

The Celtics are off Saturday before returning to action at home on Sunday night (6 p.m.) against the Wizards at TD Garden. Boston concludes its four-game homestand on Wednesday night. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Jeff Green, Kevin Garnett
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