2017 NBA Playoffs: Irving saves the day as Cavs go up 3-1

Here’s what happened on day 33 of the 2017 NBA Playoffs:

CLE 112 – BOS 99, CLE leads series 3-1

Kyrie Irving helped the Cleveland Cavaliers push past a shaky first half by LeBron James, as they took a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

James was saddled with four fouls in the first half, and had to take an early seat on the bench. Irving though dropped 18 points on 50 percent shooting, to keep the Celtics within 10 points. He then added 21 in the third period, missing just one of his 10 attempts, to turn the tide in favor of the defending champions, who never trailed after that.

The Celtics went up 11, 61-50, off a Jae Crowder layup, three minutes into the third quarter. However, Cleveland came storming back, and a pair of James free throws gave them their first lead since a 5-0 burst to open the game.

An Irving step-back triple at the buzzer had the Cavaliers ahead 87-80, entering the fourth. Triples by Al Horford and Crowder got them within four, 90-86, but by then, James had found his groove. A turnaround jumper armed Cleveland with their first double-digit lead, 98-88. A personal 7-0 burst then made it 110-97 with 2:26 left, essentially ending this one.

Irving finished with 42 points in 41 minutes, hitting 15-of-22 from the field. LeBron James wrapped up with 34 points, five boards, and six dimes, while Kevin Love powered through with a 17-17 outing.

Avery Bradley top-scored with 19 points on as many attempts for Boston. Jae Crwoder added 18 markers on a 50 percent clip, Al Horford logged 16 markers and seven dimes.

Game three hero Marcus Smart was held to just eight points on a 1-of-9 outing, 1-of-5 from three.

Game five is set for Friday (PHL time).

Photo by David Liam Kyle/Getty Images