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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 April 27, 2015 05:35 GMT

CAVALIERS-CELTICS

BOSTON (AP) -- LeBron James scored 27 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a shoulder injury to Kevin Love to complete a first-round sweep of the Boston Celtics with a 101-93 victory Sunday.

Love left the court in the first quarter after hurting his left shoulder, and J.R. Smith was ejected for swinging his arm at Jae Crowder, but the Cavaliers held on to win a series for the first time since 2010, before James left for Miami.

Now Cleveland gets extra time before facing the winner of the Chicago-Milwaukee series. The Bulls lead 3-1.

The Cavaliers led 99-89 with 44 seconds left, but the Celtics didn't give up. Isaiah Thomas hit a layup and Avery Bradley sank two free throws to cut the lead to six before the ball went out of bounds off Kyrie Irving. But Gigi Datome missed a 3-pointer before Irving was fouled and made two shots.

CAVALIERS-SMITH EJECTED

BOSTON (AP) -- J.R. Smith has been ejected from Cleveland's playoff game after swinging his arm back and knocking Boston's Jae Crowder to the floor early in the second half.

Crowder remained there for a few minutes before leaving for the locker room. The Celtics said he had a sprained left knee and would not return.

Smith was charged with a flagrant foul. Isaiah Thomas made the two free throws then Avery Bradley hit a basket when the Celtics put the ball in play.

That just cut the Cavaliers' 21-point halftime lead to 57-40 as they went for a sweep of the first-round series.

CAVALIERS-LOVE HURT

BOSTON (AP) -- Kevin Love has been ruled out of the Cavaliers' playoff game against the Celtics after hurting his left shoulder midway through the first quarter.

Cleveland's power forward was injured when he and Boston's Kelly Olynyk chased a loose ball into the left corner after Jae Crowder of the Celtics missed a 3-pointer. Olynyk's right arm became entangled with Love's left arm. Love then grabbed his arm and kept running toward the Cleveland bench before going to the locker room, where he was icing the shoulder and undergoing evaluation.

Olynyk was charged with a non-shooting foul.

Love averaged 18.3 points in the first three games and scored the first basket Sunday in Cleveland's attempt to sweep the first-round, Eastern Conference series.

CUBS-REDS

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rookie Addison Russell doubled with the bases loaded -- one of his best moments during his first week in the majors -- and the Chicago Cubs held on for a 5-2 victory on Sunday and a sweep of their rain-shortened series against the Cincinnati Reds.

The 21-year-old second baseman was in a slump when he broke the game open with his three-run double in the fourth inning off Anthony DeSclafani (2-1). Miguel Montero had a solo homer and a run-scoring single off DeSclafani, who had a streak of 16 scoreless innings snapped.

The Reds have dropped three in a row overall. They went 0 for 20 with runners in scoring position during the two games against Chicago.

Jake Arrieta (3-1) pitched six innings after waiting out a 4-hour, 13-minute delay before the Reds called off Saturday's game because of persistent rain. The Cubs won the series opener on Friday night, 7-3 in 11 innings.

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