No. 2 Celtics vs. No. 4 Cavs - Boston leads 2-1
Following a 30-point loss to Cleveland in Game 3, the Celtics look to get back on track Monday and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Boston, a team that fell to 1-5 on the road this postseason with Saturday night's defeat, struggled offensively throughout the night in the loss, shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from deep. Rookie Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, but Jaylen Brown (10 points), Marcus Morris (nine points) and Marcus Smart (seven points) couldn't find any rhythm on the offensive end, shooting a combined 7-of-25 from the field.
Terry Rozier, who has made headlines throughout the postseason with his outstanding play, finished with 13 points and two assists in Game 3. The third-year guard considered the loss a much-needed reality check for the Celtics, who won the first two games of the series in convincing fashion. Expect Rozier to make a statement early in Game 4.
The key to a Boston win in Game 4 is the play of Al Horford. In Game 3, Horford attempted just four shots and finished with a postseason-low seven points. The Celtics know it is imperative to get their All-Star center involved offensively.
Cleveland's Game 3 win was its sixth consecutive postseason victory at Quicken Loans Arena. With a record of 6-1 at home in the 2018 playoffs, the Cavs have not lost at The Q since dropping Game 1 of the first round to the Pacers.
LeBron James led the way for Cleveland in Game 3, scoring 27 points and dishing out 12 assists. The three-time Finals MVP was one of six Cavs to score in double figures (along with Kyle Korver, Kevin Love, George Hill, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson), a welcome sight for the team. James' playmaking ability got a number of his teammates involved, as he assisted seven different players in the win.
Hill scored 11 of his 13 points in the first frame of Game 3, propelling the Cavs to a 32-17 lead by the end of the first quarter. The 10-year veteran's energy and aggression set the tone - the Cavs never trailed in the game. Love added a double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds) while Smith (11 points) and Korver (14 points) combined to score 25 points while connecting on seven of their eight 3-point attempts.
As a team, Cleveland shot a postseason-high 50 percent (17-of-34) from beyond the arc in Game 3 after shooting a combined 14-of-57 (24.6 percent) in Games 1 and 2. Perimeter shooting will be the key to a Cavs win in Game 4 - they have shot at a 39.4 percent clip from deep in nine postseason wins and 27.3 percent in five losses.
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