In that fourth quarter, James converted seven of his 11 attempts from the field and one of his two three-point tries, and that triple made it a three-possession game after the Celtics had trimmed the Cavaliers' advantage to just six points with back-to-back 23-foot jumpers from Avery Bradley and Jonas Jerebko.
That's when James, who had eight points, five rebounds and five assists in the first half as Cleveland took a 66-50 lead, normally steps up and takes over a game, but it didn't happen in Game 3.
Can you imagine? LeBron was looking for the demonstrative, we-are-back play, right there, and he muffed it.
"No blame. We're all to blame", Lue said Monday of James's display. That's my only thing.
"That's what I always think, when people of his stature or people like him, you've got to play confident the whole night and play aggressive".
Bereft of his leading scorer, no one would have blamed Celtics coach Brad Stevens for getting swept out of the Eastern Conference Finals.
"It's not enough for him". Irving, who has a history of injuries, said he has rolled his ankle enough to know when it's serious. "We know that. Just expecting him to be better in game four". "I'm focused on Game 4". And while his disgusting 11-point effort in Game 3 helped the Cavs lose, and in doing so lifted the spirits of the Celtics, nobody - nobody - thought it was going to last.
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While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn't as if the Cavs are a one-man team.
Cleveland, stunned by Boston in Game 3 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.
Cavaliers: The 42 points were a career playoff-high for Irving, who scored 41 in Game 5 of last year's Finals.
As the Boston Celtics entered the Cleveland Cavaliers' arena on Sunday, their expressions registered somewhere between "I'm sorry, Principal, it will never happen again" and "so this is my coffin right here?" "This was one of those games we had to fight and earn it".
He took the attitude that, "I just find ways to get into the lane, to get in transition, to back off and shoot the jumper". If Cleveland returns to form and plays like the team that beat Boston by more than 40 points in Game 2, then Boston might leave Cleveland just one game away from total elimination. Here goes: Throughout his career, in games played after he has scored 15 points or less, he has responded with an average of 28.3 points.
The same way Irving owned the third quarter, James controlled the fourth.