Jaylen Brown and Amir Johnson to start vs Cavaliers Game 5

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Kelly Olynyk another. Marcus Smart stepped into the starting lineup, and rookie Jaylen Brown helped out from the bench.

"He showed why he's one of the best point guards in the league, and he commanded us to be better, especially in the second half".

The Cleveland Cavaliers quickly silenced any questions about their play after two shaky outings at home, scoring a franchise-record 43 points in the first quarter and cruising to a 75-57 halftime lead over the Boston Celtics. But they remembered in time to salvage Game 4, and are now one victory from their third straight NBA Finals duel with the Golden State Warriors.

"At the end of the day, I think we put in a lot of good basketball (in Cleveland)", Stevens said. I'll go back and look at it again. His excellent play was even more impressive considering he sprained his left ankle during the second half.

Irving's signature game of the postseason came in Game 4 against the Celtics when he scored a playoff career-high 42 points, including 21 in the third quarter. Uncle Drew, Kyrie Irving slowed down in this game deliverin24points and 7 assists, but Kevin Love maintained his double-double streak, with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He led Cleveland with 35 points in the game.

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It's unusual to imagine the Celtics could lose their leading scorer - Thomas was averaging 23.3 points a game before a hip injury in Game 2 of the conference finals ended his season - and be more of a challenge.

"We've been in that position before", Love said. "We're humble enough to know that we haven't played well at home, and we want to give our home crowd a better outing than we did the past two games", forward Jae Crowder told reporters.

Who steps up for the Celtics in Thomas' absence?

The Cavs will win 119-98 and wrap the series up in five games, James passes Jordan as the all-time leader in postseason scoring with 37 points.

Isaiah Thomas was shut down for the season after aggravating a lingering hip injury in Game 2 of the series.

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As Cavaliers faltered in the regular season, Celtics had seized the top seeding in the East.

Whatever mindset elevated their play in Game 3 needs to be a big factor in Game 5.

"When you have a special player like Bron on your team, sometimes you can get caught watching and you allow him to be great", Irving said after Game 4. They will be playing for their playoff lives on Thursday, which brings with it a heightened level of intensity. "We got some throughout the year, and we really had guys progress well, but they've got to keep making that progress". And that made it this far.

For the first time in the series, the Cavs were outplayed in the first half of Game 4.

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