Cavaliers down Celtics 112-99

After a head-scratching home loss on Sunday night and a sloppy, sluggish first half on Tuesday, the Cavaliers flipped that proverbial switch after intermission – shooting 71 percent from the floor in the second stanza and blowing past the Celtics, 112-99, to take Game 4 at The Q.

The Wine and Gold now stand one win away from a third straight trip to the NBA Finals, but locking up their third win in the series didn’t come easy.

Buoyed by their big upset in Game 3, the shorthanded Celtics – who’ll be without Isaiah Thomas for the remainder of the postseason – took the fight to Cleveland in the first half of Game 4, leading by double-digits after one quarter and by as many as 16 in the second.

Complicating the Cavaliers’ first-half pickle was the foul trouble LeBron James found himself in – picking up his fourth personal with 6:46 to play in the second period.

But the Cavs found their footing late in the half and were able to stay within striking distance – trailing by only 10 at intermission.

The Celtics saw a different team emerge from the locker room in the third quarter, however, and the Wine and Gold – namely Kyrie Irving – were all business over the final 24 minutes.

In that third quarter, Irving was virtually unstoppable – tallying 21 of his Playoff career-high 42 points in the period, going 9-of-10 from the floor as Cleveland turned a 10-point halftime deficit into a seven-point lead heading to the fourth.

In the fourth, the Cavaliers looked like themselves again.

The Celtics cut their lead to four earlier in the period, but Cleveland hit the afterburners and eventually cruised to the finish line – taking a double-digit edge with just over three minutes to play and holding off Boston down the stretch.

Led by Kyrie’s career night, the Big Three did almost all the heavy lifting on Tuesday night – combining for 93 points, the most Cleveland’s power troika has ever tallied in a Playoff game.

On the night, Irving went 15-for-22 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from long-range and 8-of-9 from the stripe. The four-time All-Star – who was 10-of-12 from the field in the second half – added four assists and three boards in the win.

”The importance of a Game 4 – especially the way we came out in Game 3 – you know, in the back of my mind, I was like, I’m saying to myself, ‘We cannot — they cannot tie up this series,” said Irving. “And for us, our focus level has to be at an all-time high, and the little things that matter that’s going to make the difference within the game.”

LeBron James bounced back from a difficult Game 3 in which he scored just 11 points – the fourth-lowest Playoff total of his career – to tally 34 points, going 15-for-27 from the floor to go with six assists, five boards, a steal and a blocked shot.

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