Kyrie, Cavs rally past Celtics in Game 4

Ashish Mathur

Kyrie Irving scored 42 points and LeBron James came alive in the second half for 34, and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied past the visiting Boston Celtics for a 112-99 win in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Cavs now lead the series 3-1 with Game 5 set for Thursday in Boston.

Irving scored 33 points in 19 minutes after James went to the bench in the first half with foul trouble. In fact, James picked up four fouls in the first half -- unheard of in a league where superstars almost always are afforded a little more leeway.

But Al Horford, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and the rest of the Celtics played a slow-down, physical brand of basketball that resulted in a 16-point first-half lead.

Slowly but surely, the Cavs kept chipping away behind Irving, James and a revitalized Kevin Love (17 points, 17 rebounds), who continues to play his best basketball in his three seasons in Cleveland.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was impressed with his Big Three, and especially, Irving.

"He wanted to put the team on his shoulders, on his back and let us ride him until LeBron got back," Lue told reporters. "He did that."

Added Irving on the comeback: "It was a conscious choice we had to make on our end: How bad do we want it?"

Bradley led the Celtics with 19 points, Crowder scored 18 and Horford went for 16 points and seven assists. But Marcus Smart, the Game 3 hero for the Celtics with seven 3-pointers, managed just 1-of-9 shooting and eight points Tuesday.

No matter, the Celtics kept battling, battling and battling some more -- and weren't ever really out of it until about the 3-minute mark.

"They're giving us everything they have," James told reporters. "We're expecting it. We want the challenge."

Irving rolled his ankle and at one point, the injury appeared serious. However, he laced up his shoelaces, stayed in the game and continued his scoring explosion.

"I wasn't coming out," he said. "I knew how much we needed this game."