LOS ANGELES: LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers moved to within one win of advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs with a 103-95 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
James finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds for the second seeded Cavaliers who took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series. No NBA team has ever lost a series after winning the first three contests.
“I just try to do a little bit of everything,” James said. “Whatever it takes for my team to win. I want to be part of it.”
Kevin Love, who is playing in his first career postseason, had his best game of the series so far.
Love tallied 23 points and nine rebounds and hit a couple of key three pointers late in the contest. He made a total of half a dozen three-pointers, including two in the final two and a half minutes, as the Celtics attempted to claw their way back into the game.
Love had 12 points in the first half after scoring 13 in game two, which the Cavs won 99-91 on Tuesday.
“Kevin has been great overall,” said Cleveland coach David Blatt.
“He didn’t score as much in the second game as he did tonight, but he’s been engaged. I haven’t seen any nervousness and discomfort since the series began.”
The Cavaliers can close out the series sweep against the seventh-seeded Celtics with another win on Sunday in Boston. The winner of this series advances to play either the Chicago Bulls or the Milwaukee Bucks.
J.R. Smith scored 15 points, Kyrie Irving scored 13 and Tristan Thompson had 12 in the victory.
Evan Turner paced the Celtics’ attack with 19 points while Avery Bradley scored 18 and Jae Crowder came off the bench to score 16.