Irving's 42 carry Cavs to win, 3-1 lead over Celtics

Then LeBron picked up three fouls in the second quarter, giving him a total of four by the 6:46 mark.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are just one win away from the third consecutive NBA Finals after they defeated Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, at Quicken Loans Arena 112- 99.

Lue's comment, which made the top of the ESPN.com scroll, came a few days after Warriors owner Joe Lacob said he welcomes the chance to settle a score with the Cavs and that Golden State was the better team previous year but just happened to lose in the NBA Finals.

The Cavs were out of sorts in that first half, largely due to James picking up four fouls and spending much of it on the bench.

Irving scored 36 points after that, including 21 during a game-turning third quarter in which Cleveland outscored Boston 40-23.

Asked about his team's ability to overcome obstacles - sometimes these Cavs even seem to go out of their way to create them - Irving called it a "complex question", saying adversity either brings out the best in a person or team or the worst. In the last game he had a very Kevin Love stat line of 17 points and 17 rebounds. Irving finished with a playoff-high 42 points, including a deep heat-check 3-pointer before the end of the half.

Among the Celtics, Avery Bradley the hero of Game 3 was once again the best player with 19 points and five rebounds. Horford's 16-point performance in Game 5 was a quiet one, but if he can to the paint and use his stepback fadeaway shot, he will be hard to stop.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (2) drives against Boston.

The Celtics gave it their best effort, but their offense eventually stalled during the second half of Game 4.

Meanwhile LeBron James, fresh off an uncharacteristically poor performance in Game 3, had a nice game as well, with 34 points on 15-of-27 shooting, plus five rebounds and six assists.

"The kid is special", James said.

James, Irving and Love were the only three Cavs players to make double digits. Most important, Marcus Smart, a third-year point guard filling in for Thomas, did a passable imitation of James himself, scoring 28 on 7-of-10 shooting from 3-point range - after averaging less than 30 percent from that distance all season.

"We played as well as we'd played in the entire playoffs in the first half and then for various reasons that didn't happen in the second half".

So why let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory? Even if the wine and gold had prepped for Smart in their time leading up, they nearly certainly would not have planned on a 7-of-10 barrage from deep by the 29% 3-point shooter. He was hot in the fourth quarter, putting up 15 points.

Boston lost All-Star Isaiah Thomas for the remainder of the postseason to a hip injury in Game 2, forcing coach Brad Stevens to shuffle his lineup and rotations in Games 3 and 4. She was born almost five months early.

A win and LeBron James goes to his seventh straight finals and the Cavs will see a team that is 12-0 in these playoffs.

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