Seriously? Bradley, Celtics stun listless Cavs

Ashish Mathur

Avery Bradley hit a 3-pointer and left the defending champion Cavaliers with a three-point deficit, one-tenth of a second, and most notably, their first loss of the postseason in forever.

It's true -- Bradley's shot lifted the visiting Boston Celtics to a 111-108 win over the Cavs in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday.

This after the Cavs buried Boston by 44 points two nights ago.

The Cavs still lead the series, 2-1, with Game 3 set for Tuesday in Cleveland. Neither team has won a home game.

It marked the first time the Cavs lost in the postseason since Game 4 of last year's Finals. It was also the first time the Cavs blew a 21-point lead in the third quarter since ... well, it's been a while.

This was the Cavs' worst game of the playoffs, a game in which LeBon James scored 11 points, and committed as many turnovers in the second half as he scored points in the second half (three apiece).

But James can hardly be entirely to blame for this one. The Cavs were bad defensively from the middle of the third quarter until crunch time, failing to close out 0n shooters and giving the Celtics second chances by failing to grab timely rebounds.

It ended up giving Bradley a chance to play hero.

Per The Associated Press:

Bradley's shot from the left wing -- off a play designed by coach Brad Stevens -- bounced on the rim four times before going down. It capped a furious, focused comeback by the Celtics, who trailed by 21 in the third quarter before rallying to tighten up a series that appeared to be over.

"Wide-open look," Bradley said. "Al (Horford) did a great job of getting me open and Marcus (Smart) made a great pass and I was able to knock down the shot."

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points for the Cavs and Kevin Love went for 28. Tristan Thompson, however, was probably the Cavs' best player on this night, as he finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds and tons of hustle.

Marcus Smart started in place of the injured star Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (hip) and scored 27 points, including seven 3-pointers. Bradley added 20.

The Celtics' bench outscored the Cavs' bench, 32-9. Also, overall the Cavs shot just 2-of-17 on threes in the second half.