CLEVELAND (AP) â€” Once he got control of the ball and let his shot fly, Avery Bradley prepared to get mobbed.
The Celtics had pulled off the improbable.
Bradley made a 3-pointer from the corner at the horn to give Boston a stunning 104-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, the Celticsâ€™ eighth win in nine games.
â€œI knew it was there,â€ said Bradley, who had to regain his dribble before launching the winner. â€œItâ€™s a great feeling. I lost the ball for a second and I didnâ€™t even think I had enough time to get the shot off â€” but I did.â€
After blowing a seven-point lead in the last 3 minutes, the Celtics still trailed by four with 7 seconds left before things began to bounce their way.
A little Celtics magic.
Celtics celebrate after guard Avery Bradley sinks the game-winner.
Boston was down 101-96 with 18 seconds remaining before Celtics forward Jae Crowder, who played on a tender ankle, made a 3-pointer â€” his only basket â€” and Evan Turner scored on a layup while being fouled by J.R. Smith with 4 seconds to go. Turner missed his free throw but the ball went out of bounds off Clevelandâ€™s LeBron James.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens quickly drew up an inbounds play during a video review. As he took the floor, guard Marcus Smart had a premonition Bradley was about to be a hero.
â€œI had a feeling it was going in even before he shot it,â€ Smart said.
The bucket triggered a wild celebration by the young Celtics, who were swept by the Cavs in last yearâ€™s playoffs.
â€œIn the big picture it does count as one (win), but it gives you a sense youâ€™re improving and getting better,â€ Stevens said. â€œFor us it would have been disappointing to lose that lead and not come out with a win. They made huge plays late in the game, but our guys stayed poised. To score five points inside 8 seconds is a good deal.â€
LeBron Jamesâ€™ 30 points arenâ€™t enough in Cavs loss.
James scored 30 points to lead the Cavs, who dropped to 5-3 under new coach Tyronn Lue.
Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points and Turner had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who are developing into a dangerous team under Stevens.
James scored 13 in the fourth quarter for the Cavs. Cleveland went just 21 of 35 from the free-throw line.
â€œI canâ€™t describe it,â€ Lue said. â€œYou just have to step up and make free throws.â€
The Cavs appeared to be in control when Kyrie Irving, who finished with 19 points, knocked down two free throws to make it 103-99. But Smith inexplicably got too close to Turner and bumped him from behind on his layup, committing his sixth foul. The Cavs then failed to come up with Turnerâ€™s missed free throw and the Celtics made them pay.
Avery Bradley shoots over Iman Shumpert to win the game for Boston.
â€œThey just kept fighting,â€ Irving said.
The Cavaliers lost Kevin Love in the third quarter with a bruised left thigh. A limping Love had to be helped to the locker room and did not return. He hopes rest and treatment will allow him to play Saturday.
â€œSmart hit me on the box out and I went right to the floor,â€ Love said. â€œFor 10 minutes it was just dead leg. Iâ€™m optimistic itâ€™s just a thigh bruise. Nothing else.â€
Love isnâ€™t having any luck when he runs into the Celtics. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against them last year in the first round of the playoffs â€” courtesy of Celtics center Kelly Olynyk â€” and he may have to miss a few games with his bruise.
Olynyk was booed every time he touched the ball by Cleveland fans, who havenâ€™t forgiven him for yanking Loveâ€™s left shoulder from the socket. The injury ended Loveâ€™s postseason â€” he needed nearly six months to recover from surgery â€” and slowed the Cavsâ€™ NBA title chase.
MOBILE USER: CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.Share: