A bevy of stars left stunned by Celtic uprising
Football stars and Hollywood stars came to Cleveland on Sunday night to watch the Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.
So did National Basketball Association Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller.
What they saw was a stunning 111-108 come-from-behind victory for the Celtics when Avery Bradley made a three-pointer with 0.1 seconds to go in the fourth quarter in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
With so little time left, the Cavs were unable to do anything and followed up 44-point road win in Game 2 with a home loss after holding a 21-point lead in the third quarter on Sunday.
The Celtics travelled to Cleveland without their star, Isaiah Thomas, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs with a hip injury, but fought back to win.
Marcus Smart led the Celtics with 27 points and seven assists, and Bradley chipped in 20 points and four assists before a sellout crowd of 20,562 that included Browns rookies Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku and veterans Joe Haden and Corey Coleman.
Comedians Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle were also in attendance as the defending NBA champion Cavs lost following 117104 and 130-86 victories in Boston.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Kyrie Irving paced the Cavs with 29 points and seven assists and Kevin Love totalled 28 points and 10 rebounds.
Tristan Thompson contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds, J.R. Smith had 13 points and eight rebounds and LeBron James finished with 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.
James entered Sunday with at least 30 points in a career-high eight consecutive playoff games, but was quiet most of the evening, including just three points, one rebound and one assist in the second half.
The Celtics finished with six players in double figures — Smart, Bradley, Al Horford (16 points), Kelly Olynyk (15 points), Jae Crowder (14 points) and Jonas Jerebko (10 points).
The loss dropped the Cavs to 10-1 this post-season, and also snapped a 13-game playoff winning streak. The Cavs and Los Angeles Lakers (1988 and ’89) share the NBA record for most post-season wins in a row. The Cavs’ streak dates back to Game 5 of the 2016 NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors.
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 14-7 lead with 7:23 to go in the first quarter with two three-pointers by Love, one each from Smith and Irving and a Thompson dunk. Smart ended the 11-2 Cavs run with a three-pointer, but the lead reached 22-10 at 5:14 after Love swished two more treys and James nailed a jumper.
Irving and Love both made a three-pointer with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter and Cavs led 35-24 heading into the second quarter.
The Cavs made nine of 13 shots from long range in the first quarter and then cooled down a bit in the second quarter as the Celtics cut their deficit to 44-36 and 47-38 with Bradley and Crowder leading the charge.
Love got hot again from deep and made a couple more threepointers to lead the Cavs into halftime ahead 66-50. Love made seven of 10 treys in the first half and led all scorers with 22 points at the break.
The third quarter lacked offensive firepower initially as each team struggled to score. The Celtics then caught fire and trimmed a 77-56 deficit to 87-82 deficit heading into the fourth quarter. Smart, Olynyk, Jerebko and Horford combined to score 26 points.
The Celtics kept charging in the fourth quarter and a Jerebko 3pointer cut the Cavs’ lead to 87-85 with 11:41 to go. Thompson made four free throws to push the Cavs’ lead to 91-85 lead but the Celtics kept battling back.
The Celtics got key baskets from Bradley, Smart, Olynyk, Horford and Jerebko in the closing moments. Smart’s three-point shooting was effective during the entire second half.
Al Horford celebrates with Jonas Jerebko of the Boston Celtics late in their 111 -108 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Comedians Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle attend Sunday’s NBA Eastern Conference final game in Cleveland.