'He's human': Cavs coach defends LeBron after 'weird' loss

Cleveland Cavaliers' Le Bron James defends against Boston Celtics' Jae Crowder during the second half of Game 3 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals Sunday

The short media availability session finished with a reporter asking James what the keys would be for Game 4. After going 14-of-22 from three-point range in the first half, the Cavs shot just 2-of-17 the rest of the way.

"He had 12 free throws or something like that?" James failed to score at least 30 points on Sunday for the first time since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against IN, tallying 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists. "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".

"It's the Eastern Conference finals", Smith said.

"It's not enough, for him, for what he does, for what he brings".

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Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) goes up for a shot between Boston Celtics' Kelly Olynyk (41) and Jae Crowder during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland. Being unwilling to drive to the basket for easy layups as he had the first two games, as well as hesitant to take jumpers from both mid-range and deep with a clear apprehension to score, instead looking to constantly pass to his team mates.

James's performance was the major talking point after Sunday's defeat, with the Cavs star finishing with just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. The three-time National Basketball Association champion had three points on 1-for-8 shooting, one rebound and one assist while playing 22 minutes. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games, 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five Conference Finals games.

The stunning loss in Game 3 isn't likely to prevent Cleveland from eventually winning this series, but it did cost the team a chance to keep pace with Golden State for the all-time record of 11 straight wins to start a postseason.

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The Celtics managed to stabilize the game and Bradley's jumper cut the lead to 26-19 with 2:45 left in the first quarter.

However, Cleveland continues to soar on the NBA series prices, where they are pegged as -10,000 chalk to reach the NBA Finals for a third straight year.

The money line for the Celtics against the Cavs in Game 4 is set at +1200, meaning that a $100 bet on the Celtics would win you $1,200. But this to me was a flawless example [of the Cavs saying] 'We're going to win the series. "But we definitely understand that this (Boston) team is not going to quit, they're going to fight, they're going to compete".

All season, the evidence has suggested that the Cavs, as deeply talented as they are, need James to be his most dominant to win games.

Marcus Smart scored 27 points, and Bradley had 20 for the Celtics.

It is still hard for anyone to see the Cavs losing this series but Game 3 showed that the Cavs are at least vulnerable and that LeBron James is human.

The Heat went on to lose that series and a more determined, focused LeBron responded by leading Miami to back-to-back National Basketball Association titles. As Celtics forward Gerald Green told The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach, "Just because we were down those first two games and were down in the third quarter didn't mean we didn't believe in ourselves". "We've got to be a lot better for sure". They ended the game with 10 steals and 9 turnovers compared to the Cavaliers 5 steals and 15 turnovers.

Boston's Jonas Jerebko's baseline jumper put the Celtics ahead 108-106 with 30 seconds left before Irving scored on a drive to tie it with 10.7 seconds left.

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