The Cleveland Cavaliers knew they had to return to Boston to continue the Eastern Conference Finals.
The only question is upon their arrival, would they be down 3-1 or tied at 2 games apiece?
Although Boston came out with more energy than they did in game 3, the Cavaliers matched them, particularly on the defensive end, holding the Celtics to a mere 18 points, while putting up 34 of their own. Boston would actually fall behind by 19 early in the second quarter. The Celtics would begin to chip away at the lead over the course of the game, getting the deficit down to single figures and as close as seven but the Celtics could never get over the hump to bring it to two-possession game.
LeBron James played big with 44 points. Cleveland revisited something they’d strayed from- getting Terry Rozier matched up with LeBron. Once the Cavaliers got this matchup, Lebron could either just turn and shoot over the 6’2 point guard or make any passes he saw fit. There were many times Boston used the scram method – a technique in which another player runs over and moved Rozier back to the perimeter- but there were far too many times they were unable to and they paid for it.
You hope he misses, that’s about it,” Rozier said. ”He’s a big body and you’ve just got to keep him in front, and hope he misses
Kyle Korver also was key with fourteen points but it was his surprisingly good defense on Jalen Brown, and hustle plays were big for the Cavaliers.
I’ve loved Kyle ever since we made the trade to get him here” James said. ”I don’t remember Kyle falling too much like that. I’ve got to keep his body as fresh as possible. But listen, he’s doing whatever it takes to try to help us win, with the blocks, with the strips. Obviously his shot making is very key for our team as well, but it’s just the intangibles he’s doing for us defensively.
Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 12 rebounds and provides the type of play that justifies the move to reinsert him into the starting lineup.
Jalen Brown scored 25 but he did not look comfortable for the majority of the evening. Terry Rozier jacked up multiple ill-advised shots, while Al Horford and Jayson Tatum at times looked tentative on offense. This is a recipe for losing against most teams, much less the class of the conference, Cleveland Cavaliers.
The series returns to Boston for Game 5 Wednesday night with a 8:30 P.M. EST tip time.