The Cavaliers got back on track last night with a 112-99 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to a 42-point outburst from Kyrie Irving and a dominant fourth quarter from LeBron James. The win gives the Cavs a 3-1 series lead and puts them on the brink of their third consecutive finals appearance, but the Celtics have tested them more than in Games 1 & 2 of the series in Boston. Those performances have come despite being without their best player in Isaiah Thomas, who is done for the season after re-injuring his hip in Game 2.
Which is why, after last night’s game, James made sure to take the time to note how quickly Boston had adjusted to life without I.T.
Quotes courtesy of Celticsblog.com:
“It’s a difficult challenge because our preparation going into the series was going against a team with Isaiah, so now they’re playing a lot differently now, so we’re trying to figure out exactly what they’re running and things of that nature, so it’s been very difficult on us without [Isaiah Thomas] on the floor, but now this is two games that we’ve been able to see them and we’re going to get a better understanding. We should be a lot better in Game 5.”
“They run different things just because of [Isaiah Thomas] being a huge piece of the puzzle for them offensively. So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach. You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of. Plays out of time-out [have been] kind of been killing us and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5.”
James is one of, if not the most, cerebral basketball players on the planet, so for him to tip his cap to another team’s coach for their adjustments is high praise. Despite the adjustments by Boston, as LeBron said, the Cavs seemed to find a rhythm in the second half of last night’s game, outscoring Boston 65-42.
Thursday night will provide the next opportunity for the Celtics to make some tweaks to their game with Game 5 set to tip at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.