Smart: JR Smith Is Known For Dirty Plays

Celtics withstand James' huge night

He almost overcame the rest of his teammates shooting 5-for-20 from the 3-point line.

Smith and point guard George Hill were outscored 41-3 by Boston's Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, who were faster, hungrier and maybe tougher. Even after taking the first two games, everybody in Boston understands that it won't mean anything if they allow Cleveland to bounce back at home and win the next two games. If a 40-point triple-double from James isn't enough to stave off these upstart Celtics, what else can Cleveland throw at them? "They had all their starters in double figures, and that comes a lot, I think, with not only Stevens putting them in the right position but their level of activity".

The fact that Cleveland is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games versus teams with winning records is even more concerning when you factor in the success they had against the Toronto Raptors in the second round. The burden on James's shoulders is clearly too much. The roster at present doesn't appear able to legitimately contend for a championship, and the Cavs' salary cap situation would make it tough to bring marquee talent to surround James with.

Crowder was not the roleplayer whose antagonist demeanor and pesky defense gave Cleveland the boost it did in Boston. When Smith jacked a 27-footer against Smart with the Cavaliers down eight in the waning minutes of Game 2, it all but slammed the door shut on Cleveland's comeback hopes.

J.R. Smith had an ugly performance.

"You know, and I just looked at it, Al is a defenseless person". "He's in the air". "S--, we're doing what it takes". Today was a tremendous effort on one of the biggest stages we've all played on. Baynes played the final 6:46 of the quarter and finished with four points and two rebounds, once again showing the ability to positively and efficiently impact the game in the minutes he was on the floor. "We're just trying to get the win". "He's made big shots for us".

Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals series between Boston and Cleveland is scheduled for 10:30am Sunday morning AEST, 20 May 2018.

Smith was assessed a flagrant foul and both received technical fouls.

"I blatantly pushed him", Smith said. Hard fouls. Everything you could ever want in playoff basketball! "You go out and when you lay everything on the line, at the end of the day, you can live with that", James said.

Cleveland didn't find any more discipline down the stretch. There were six turnovers in the fourth quarter. The teams have gone under the total in four of the last five meetings: look for that trend to continue here as Boston continues to challenge Cleveland's shooters.

Despite the late collapse, James insisted the Cavs did not lost their composure.

Asked if he was checked for a concussion, he said: "I was checked for multiple things, and I passed them all. That's not why I'm here", Smith said, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "They played no defense whatsoever".

"We really lean on him", said Brown of Horford. The Cavs might be in the midst of a couple of bad games or they might be falling apart.

But things unraveled as the game wore on.

The Celtics were clinging to a single-digit lead early with under nine minutes to play when Marcus Morris misfired on a jumper.

James overcame all that. "We can't just expect him to do everything".

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