The Cleveland Cavaliers have won the Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals to build a 19-point lead in the first quarter and cruised to a blowout 116-86 win over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The Cavs cut the Celtics’ series lead to 2-1, with a pivotal Game 4 scheduled on Monday night in Cleveland. LeBron James had 27 points on just 12 shots and dished out 12 assists in the win, and the Cavaliers had five others score in double figures.
When the Cavs went 0-of-14 on 3s in the first half of Game 1 and then 3-of-17 in the second half of Game 2, it wasn’t a surprise that they had everything from defensive issues to dribbling issues. They were just 2-of-15 on uncontested 3-pointers in those games, which explains a great deal.
So, we could spend time at this juncture examining Cleveland’s defensive execution (it was vastly improved) in Game 3 Saturday night. We could talk about how Boston seems to lose its swagger on the road in the postseason (1-5). And so on.
Instead, all you need to know is that the Cavs looked like a different team from 3-point range and it was a totally different outcome. They went 9-of-17 on treys in the first half alone and finished 17-of-34. Thusly, they won easily 116-86 to pull within 2-1 in the series.
“We did a good job moving the basketball and making the extra pass, and we shot it well tonight,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “When we’re playing like that, guys are going to get open shots.”