LeBron hails 'special' Irving
|CLEVELAND CAVALIERS||BOSTON CELTICS|
Kyrie Irving and LeBron James combined for 76 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers battled to a 112-99 victory over the Boston Celtics yesterday morning (Singapore time) to move within one game of a place in the NBA Finals.
The win gives Cleveland a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and leaves them firmly on track for a third consecutive NBA Finals showdown against the Golden State Warriors.
Cleveland, stunned by Boston in Game Three after romping two blowout wins in the opening two games of the Eastern Conference series, looked to be heading for another shock as the Celtics dominated the first half.
Boston powered into a 29-19 first-quarter lead and maintained their 10-point cushion through to half-time, leading 57-47 at the break.
But, as tension among Cleveland's home fans mounted at the Quicken Loans Arena, it was left to Irving to ride to the rescue with a sensational, momentum-changing display in the third quarter.
Irving piled on 21 points in the third period as Cleveland turned their 10-point half-time deficit into an 87-80 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Irving eventually finished with 42 points.
"Coming out at half-time, I just wanted to be aggressive and lead my guys and leave it all out there on the floor," Irving said.
James, determined to bounce back after a poor 11-point haul in Game Three, finished with 34 points.
He was joined in double figures by Kevin Love, who scored 17 points with 17 rebounds and five assists.
"The kid is special," James said of Irving.
"He was just waiting for an opportunity to blossom.
"I'm just happy and blessed that when I decided to come back that I was able to help him blossom.
"I'm just happy to be able to sit back, with four fouls, and see him do what he's always been built to do.
"He was born for these moments." - AFP