Celtics' Jae Crowder (thigh) says he's fine after Game 4


A awful second half cost the Cavs in Game 3, and the poor play carried over into the first half Tuesday night, with Cleveland trailing the Boston Celtics by 10 at halftime.

Cleveland Cavaliers' James Jones, right, and LeBron James sit on the bench against the Boston Celtics during the first half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland.

James had been spectacular before Sunday's game, scoring at least 30 points in nine of the Cavaliers' 10 playoff games.

So fans' reaction on Twitter was a bit more relaxed. although James did take some abuse for missing a wide-open dunk that would have given the Cavs the lead in the third quarter.

Freezing Boston defenders with his dribble and driving to the basket whenever he wanted, Irving made six layups, two 3-pointers and a free throw in a dizzying span of 4:48.

Forget playing like he had throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Boston Celtics will be aiming to stave off elimination after falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers by 112-99 in Game 4 to fall behind by 3-1 in the series.

Kevin Love added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavs, now 11-1 in the postseason.

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With Cleveland in jeopardy of dropping its second game in a row after James followed an 11-point Game 3 debacle by picking up four first-half fouls, Irving put on a breathtaking one-man show.

"I feel like we're humble enough to know we haven't played well at home", he said.

Celtics forward Jae Crowder also picked up an injury during Game 4, but returned to the contest quickly and didn't seem overly concerned.

But if Games 3 and 4 are any indication, it won't be easy.

"The kid is special", James said. "So who do we go to get that?' And that's where he's been so big for them and so crucial this year".

"Kyrie Irving and LeBron James would be the two answers", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said when asked about the difference from the first half to the second.

In fact, those games should be easy to remember because they are so rare. He shot 15 of 27 from the field Tuesday and closed the game with 15 points in the fourth, including a 3-pointer with 3:52 remaining for a 106-97 lead. Cavs G J.R. Smith and his wife brought home from the hospital their baby daughter Dakota, who had been in a Cleveland-area NICU since her birth in January. Johnson was replaced in the starting lineup for Game 2 by Gerald Green, but after a 44-point loss and with Thomas out, Stevens went back to Johnson in Game 3. "We Walked In Together We Walked Out Together!"

The Celtics, who are missing their best player, injured guard Isaiah Thomas, led by as many as 16 points in the first half and appeared primed to stun Cleveland again while James flirted with trouble.