August 6, 2018
Before taking the floor Authentic Da'Ron Payne Jersey , LeBron James stood in the hallway with his teammates outside Cleveland’s locker room and pounded his chest with both hands.
The Celtics got thumped next.
James had 27 points and 12 assists, Kevin Love added 14 rebounds and the Cavaliers looked like a different team on their home court, tightening the Eastern Conference finals with a 116-86 victory in Game 3 over Boston on Saturday night.
Outplayed during two losses in Boston, the Cavs used a three-day break in the series to regroup and re-grip this series. With James leading the way, they built a 19-point lead in the first quarter, pushed it to 30 in the second half and overpowered the Celtics, who fell to 1-5 on the road in the postseason.
Any discussion of Cleveland’s demise is premature. Kyle Korver made four of the team’s 17 3-pointers, six players scored in double figures and the Cavs, who have spent the season seeking chemistry and cohesion, were connected defensively.
”Even when things broke down, we just covered for one another,” James said. ”We made them make extra passes. We made them make extra dribbles. We were flying around, and I just happened to be one of the guys on the floor that wanted to fly around as well.”
Game 4 is Monday night before the series returns to Boston.
Jaylen Brown was in foul trouble all night and scored just 10 for the Celtics after averaging 23 in the first two games. Jayson Tatum scored 18 and Terry Rozier 13 for Boston, which couldn’t match Cleveland in any aspect.
”They took it to us,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. ”Point blank: They just outplayed us.”
Only 19 of a possible 300 teams have ever overcome a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs. James and the Cavs, who previously did it in 2007 and again in 2016 while winning the NBA title, took the first step toward a third comeback.
To return to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year, the Cavs have to win four of five and re-write Boston’s illustrious history. The Celtics are 37-0 when they win the first two games in a series.
The Cavs came in wanting to play faster and be more physical with the younger Celtics, who were the aggressors in Games 1 and 2.
Not this time.
”The toughest team sets the rules,” Rozier said. ”They came out aggressive from the jump and never looked back. We’ve got to play aggressive from the rip. Tonight, we were all over the place, playing too fast and doing things we didn’t want to do.”
The Cavs needed more from point guard George Hill after two poor performances (8 points, 1 assist) in Boston. Hill responded with a driving layup to start the game and drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter as Cleveland wasted no time taking control.
Hill finished with 13, J.R. Smith 11 – they were outscored 41-3 in Game 2 – and Cleveland’s supporting cast played so well that James was only on the floor for 37 minutes.
Stevens was confident his team would play better on the road than earlier in these playoffs Womens Tom Pyatt Jersey , but the Celtics were shaky early, committing four turnovers and shooting 2 of 10 while the Cavs opened a 27-11 lead.
James said earlier Saturday the fact he has twice rallied from 2-0 deficits in the postseason offered no relief.
”There’s nothing about the playoffs that’s comfortable until you either win it all or you lose and go into the summer,” he said.
Summer might not be as close as it once seemed.
Celtics: Seeking to become the sixth No. 2 seed to win the East in eight years. Boston was a No. 4 seed when it advanced to the finals in 2010. … Fell to 3-8 in playoff games in Cleveland, the most by a Cavs opponent at the Q. … Stevens was relieved to learn that Boston legend Bill Russell was recovering after a hospital stay brought on by dehydration. Russell won 11 NBA titles with the Celtics. ”He’s the ultimate basketball winner,” Stevens said. ”The way he impacted winning, the unselfishness of a teammate, what he stood for off the floor – everything about him.”
Cavaliers: James needs six field goals to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2,356) for the most in postseason history. … Cleveland has won six straight playoff games at home. … Improved to 14-6 vs. Boston in the playoffs.
The Cavs focused their defense on slowing Brown, and it worked. He was 3 of 8 from the floor and never found his flow after getting two early fouls.
”They were denying me the ball, and when I did get it, it was in positions that I’m not comfortable in,” he said. ”Give credit to Cleveland. They were physical and we settled for jumpers too much.”
The long layoff between Games 2 and 3 revived the Cavs.
”It was three days of stewing on Game 2,” Korver said. ”It probably did something good in us. It’s frustrating to have to wait that long for another game. We were able to put in some new things on offense, too.”
Before the game, Stevens downplayed his team’s road issues, saying there was a ”small sample size.”
It got a little bigger, and a little more troubling. Still, he won’t focus on Boston’s road woes.
”In my 11 years as a head coach, I probably haven’t talked about road and home five times with our team,” he said. ”It’s about how you play between the lines. Because I think if you start talking about that, then you find excuses in both places. We can’t play like we played tonight no matter where we played. If we would have played in Boston like that, we Wade LeBlanc is a journeyman. His 10-year career has featured stops with seven different organizations and even one in Japan, where he thought he was finished.
In the left-hander’s second stint with Seattle, it appears he’s finally found a home.
LeBlanc (4-0) allowed one run over seven innings after inking a contract extension with the Mariners earlier in the day Youth Mike Gesicki Jersey , and Seattle beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 on Tuesday night for its eighth straight victory.
The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani was activated from the 10-day disabled list and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his return. He had been sidelined since June 8 with a Grade 2 ulnar collateral ligament sprain.
“I think it was huge that I got all those at-bats in the simulated games,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. ”It’s a different game up here in the big leagues. Maybe still not quite there yet, but just keep on working hard, come back tomorrow.”
The Mariners announced they signed LeBlanc (4-0) to the extension before his start and the soft-tossing left-hander showed them they made a good decision. LeBlanc allowed three hits, struck out four and retired his final 11 batters.
”It’s huge,” LeBlanc said. ”It’s life-changing money, obviously, but for me, I’ve never been the kind of guy to know where my family and I are going to be the next year this early.”
LeBlanc’s contract reportedly extends him through the 2019 season, with a base salary of $2.75 million and incentives that could raise that to $4.75 next season, and contains club options valued at $5 million with a $450,000 buyout the three following seasons.
It rewards LeBlanc after he’s provided an unexpected source of stability to the Mariners’ rotation. Seattle is 9-3 in games he’s started and he boasts a 2.90 ERA since moving to the rotation on May 3.
”It’s good to feel wanted,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ”I know Wade’s been everywhere in his career, but we’re definitely seeing the best of Wade LeBlanc right now. I’m looking forward to having him in the future. He’s done an unbelievable job for us.
”The best part about these deals with a guy like that that’s bounced around, is that he’s earned it. And that’s really what makes you feel good and allows you to sleep at night.”
LeBlanc was signed by the Mariners in spring training after he requested his release from the Yankees, who signed him to a minor league contract.
Alex Colome picked LeBlanc up by stranding Kole Calhoun after his one-out double in the eighth and Edwin Diaz earned his American League-leading 33rd save with a clean ninth inning.
Kyle Seager was 2 for 4 and drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded double in the first. Nelson Cruz provided insurance with a solo homer in the eighth.
Andrew Heaney (4-6) tied a career high with 10 strikeouts, but was tagged with three runs in the first inning to fall behind and was handed the loss.
“Andrew was terrific tonight,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”The walks were probably the one negative for him in the first inning.
”He pitched a great game, gave us a chance to win. We just couldn’t get any kind of pressure offensively.”
Andrelton Simmons’ homer in the fourth was all the Angels could muster offensively.
Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon stole third base in the eighth inning to put him at 300 career stolen bases.
ANGELS: Angels outfielder Chris Young exited in the first inning with a left hamstring strain, the club announced. Young stumbled to the ground while fielding Seager’s double to right field and fell to the ground in noticeable pain, staying there until leaving the game with trainers.
MARINERS: Servais said Erasmo Ramirez’s bullpen on Sunday went well and the right-hander will move on with his throwing program.
ANGELS: RHP Garrett Richards (4-4) will be activated from the 10-day disabled list and start against the Mariners on Wednesday. He’s been out since June 14 with a left hamstring sprain.
MARINERS: RHP Mike Leake (8-4) will make his 18th start of the season and third against the Angels on Wednesday. The 30-year-old has lasted seven-plus innings seven times this season and boasted a 2.57 ERA in June.
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