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WRGT-TV FOX 45 News :: Sports - Local Sports - James scores 31, Cavs beat Celts 103-95 for 3-0 series lead

James scores 31, Cavs beat Celts 103-95 for 3-0 series lead

BOSTON (AP) -- LeBron James scored 31 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved one win away from a sweep in their first playoff series in five years with a 103-95 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

The scrappy Celtics kept it close, just as they did in the previous two games, and trailed 95-92 after Evan Turner hit a 3-pointer with 2:45 left. But Kevin Love hit two 3-pointers for a 101-93 lead with 26 seconds to go.

Cleveland can complete the sweep of the best-of-seven, first-round series Sunday in Boston. No NBA team has won a series after trailing 3-0.

Turner had 19 points and Avery Bradley added 18 while Isaiah Thomas managed just five points after scoring 22 in the first two games.

Love had 23 points and J.R. Smith added 15 for the Cavaliers.

James went to TD Garden more than an hour before Thursday's shootaround to work on his game, despite having scored 50 points in the first two.

It was his first postseason game in Boston since Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals when he was with Miami. He had 45 points and 15 rebounds in that game to avoid elimination. The Heat won Game 7 at home then beat Oklahoma City for James' first NBA title.

On Thursday he was booed nearly every time he touched the ball in the first half. The Celtics led 48-44 before the Cavaliers closed with a 12-0 run for a 56-44 lead. In the last 40 seconds, James had six points and a steal.

Boston tied it at 56 by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter. Then Cleveland went on another spurt and took a 77-66 lead on a 3-pointer by Kyrie Irving with just under 4 minutes left in the period.

The Cavaliers led 84-76 after three quarters before James opened the fourth by scoring Cleveland's first seven points for an 89-78 lead then fed Tristan Thompson with an alley-oop pass.

Cleveland is in its first playoff series since 2010 when it lost the Eastern Conference semifinals in six games to Boston. Two months later, James left for the Heat and led them to the NBA Finals in all four of his seasons, winning two championships before returning to the Cavaliers this season.

James finished with 11 rebounds and Love had nine.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Love had nine points in the opening quarter after totaling just three in the first 12 minutes of the first two games. ... Irving didn't make his first field goal until he hit a 3-pointer with 6:27 left in the third quarter, giving Cleveland a 70-66 lead.

Celtics: Brad Stevens coached his first NBA home playoff game but watched as a fan in the 2008 playoffs in the building. ... Boston made six of its first seven shots in the third quarter.

HARD KNOCKS

The Celtics played more physically in the first half than they did in the first two games. Jonas Jerebko knocked down Irving on a hard foul and Smith received a technical while players milled around. And in the final minute, Turner received a flagrant foul against James, who then made two free throws and a jumper on the game's next possession.

James scores 31, Cavs beat Celts 103-95 for 3-0 series lead

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Last Update on July 01, 2015 05:35 GMT

INDIANS-RAYS

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Danny Salazar pitched two-hit ball for 7 2-3 innings and the Cleveland Indians backed him with three home runs to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 Tuesday night.

Jason Kipnis, Giovanny Urshela and David Murphy homered for the Indians, driving in all six runs.

Salazar (7-3) retired the first 15 batters, the third time in the last six games that's happened to the Rays. Indians rookie Cody Anderson took a perfect game into the seventh Monday night and Toronto's Marco Estrada was perfect through the seventh last Wednesday.

Salazar walked Asdrubal Cabrera to open the sixth. After a double play, Curt Casali broke up the no-hit bid with a double.

Erasmo Ramirez (6-3) lost for the first time in six starts.

TWINS-REDS

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Torii Hunter homered again after a long delay at the start of the game, and Phil Hughes got his third straight victory, leading the Minnesota Twins to an 8-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

The start was delayed 2 hours, 1 minute because a storm was headed toward the ballpark. The storm dissolved on the way.

Hunter got the Twins going by hitting a solo homer in the first inning off Anthony DeSclafani (5-6), his fourth homer in the last four games. He later singled and doubled.

Eduardo Nunez had three hits, including an RBI single while Kurt Suzuki drove home two runs with a single during a four-run seventh inning as the Twins evened the interleague series.

BLACKHAWKS-BLUE JACKETS TRADE

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks have traded forward Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a seven-player deal.

The 22-year-old Saad set career highs with 23 goals and 29 assists in 82 games this past season. The rugged winger then helped the Blackhawks to their third Stanley Cup title in six seasons.

Saad was eligible for restricted free agency, and Chicago is trying to manage its salary cap with twin extensions for captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane kicking in for next season.

The Blackhawks also sent forward Alex Broadhurst and defenseman Michael Paliotta to the Blue Jackets for forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp and a fourth-round selection in the 2016 draft.

The 27-year-old Anisimov had seven goals and 20 assists in 52 games for the Blue Jackets last season.

CAVALIERS-MOVES

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert all received qualifying offers from Cleveland on Tuesday, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offers those players get from other clubs this summer.

Thompson is of particular importance to the Cavaliers, who went to the NBA Finals this past season. He has appeared in 308 consecutive games, has averaged 10.1 points and 8.4 rebounds over his career and saw his stock soar by averaging 9.6 points and 10.8 rebounds in this year's playoffs.

Dellavedova had big playoff moments, with seven double-figure games. Shumpert started 16 playoff games for the Cavs, who lost the finals to Golden State 4-2.

Also Wednesday, the Cavaliers said forward Mike Miller exercised his $2.85-million option for next season. Miller averaged 2.1 points in limited action this season.

NBA JERSEYS

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Stephen Curry has surpassed LeBron James for the most popular jersey in the NBA.

The Golden State Warriors star and league MVP topped the list of jersey sales in the NBA for the first time Tuesday. With teammates Klay Thompson ranking fifth and Draymond Green at No. 15, the Warriors also led the team-merchandise sales list during the playoffs.

James, who held the top spot at the end of the regular season, dropped to second. Chicago's Derrick Rose is third and Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is fourth.

Following the NBA champion Warriors on the team-merchandise sales list are the Cavaliers, Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.

The league based the rankings on overall sales on NBAStore.com from April through June.

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