Avery Bradley Celtics
NBA

NBA on Sling: Celtics Get Up Off the Mat, Warriors Poised to Finish Spurs

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers, Cavs leads series 2-1

After defeating the Celtics 117-104 in Game 1, the Cavs destroyed them 130-86, and in the process, Boston lost Isaiah Thomas for the remainder of the season with a hip injury that coach Brad Stevens says may need surgery. Thomas had a “legendary” season according to GM Danny Ainge, and it’s hard to argue, as Thomas averaged 28.9 ppg, the third-most in Celtics history, and put on some amazing performances in the playoffs, despite dealing with the death of his sister just days before Game 1 of the first round. The Celtics gave a gutty performance in Game 3, overcoming the loss of Thomas and a 21-point 3rd-quarter deficit to to win 111-108 on Avery Bradley’s last-second three. The game was not just the end of Cleveland’s 13-game postseason winning streak, but also LeBron’s streak of eight consecutive playoff games with 30 or more points — in fact, LeBron was awful Sunday, hitting just 4 of 13 from the floor, with as many turnovers, 6, as rebounds and assists. But the Cavs are simply playing too well for the Celtics to have a shot at up-ending the defending champs. Despite Sunday’s stumble, the Cavs are 10-1 this postseason, and are playing at a level few would’ve imagined as they struggled down the stretch. Were they playing rope-a-dope? Did they just need time to gel as the roster went through some midseason tweaks? Whatever it was, they are a  team possessed. James said afterward that he was glad that if the Cavs were gonna have a game like this, it happen sooner rather than later, hoping it will serve as a wake-up call for them to “get back to playing desperate basketball.” LeBron is well on his way to a seventh straight NBA finals, a feat unmatched by anyone not associated with the Bill Russell Era Celtics. He can play a little bit. Cavs in 5

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors, Warriors lead 3-0

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The Spurs coughed up a 25-point lead in Game 1, falling 115-113, then got spanked 136-100, in a game that saw Kawhi Leonard re-injure his ankle by landing on Zaza Pachulia’s foot. In Game 3, Kevin Durant scored 33 points to lead the Warriors to a 120-108 victory, their eleventh consecutive win of these playoffs, and keeping them on their collision course for a three-match with the Cavs. Leonard is listed as doubtful, and while it’s possible that the Spurs would rise up without him, it seems highly unlikely. The Warriors are still without head coach Steve Kerr, who took a leave of absence midway through the first round to attend to his leaky spinal column. Kerr traveled with the team for Game 3, but watched from the locker room. As badly as the team may want Kerr back on their bench, it would seem they aren’t too fussed about having assistant coach Mike Brown at the reins. Warriors in 4

Monday

Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs @ 9pm ET on ESPN

Tuesday

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers @ 8:30pm ET on TNT

Wednesday

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors @ 9pm ET on ESPN (If necessary)

Thursday

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics @ 8:30pm ET on TNT

Friday

Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs @ 9pm ET on ESPN (If necessary)

Saturday

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers @ 8:30pm ET on TNT (If necessary)

Sunday

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors @ 9pm ET on ESPN (If necessary)

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All stats courtesy ESPN and Basketball Reference

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