Game 4: Cavs at Celtics
First round of Eastern Conference playoffs
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (4-0) 101, BOSTON CELTICS (0-4) 93
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
1. Will it be life without Kevin Love for the Cavaliers? That's the gut feeling I have after he suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the fourth game of the Boston series on Sunday. Sure, the Cavaliers completed the four-game sweep, but it might have come at a big cost. The Cavs will know more after Love's MRI. I think he'll miss some action.
2. The Cavaliers were the first team in the East to advance to the second round. The series won't start until Saturday at the earliest, a league spokesman told me yesterday. Game 1 could be Sunday at The Q. They'll have at least five days off before their semifinal series against the Bulls, who have a 3-1 lead over Milwaukee.
3. Let's get this out of the way: The Celtics impressed me. They came right at the Cavs in the best-of-seven series. They weren't intimidated in the least by LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs. Maybe they were too inexperienced to realize what kind of underdog they were in this series. Coach Brad Stevens had them ready to play.
4. James (281) moved past No. 9 Clyde "The Glide" Drexler in all-time playoff steals. He also passed No. 7 Kobe Bryant (1,040) in all-time assists. James now has 1,045. He surpassed No. 6 Shaquille O'Neal (1,168) in all-time playoff free throws. James now has 1,171. He needs three more 3-pointers to pass No. 9 Jason Kidd (236).
5. His 30-point effort in Game 3 was the 70th of his postseason career. It's amazing how people just expect him to perform at that level. I guess that comes with the territory.
6. After a so-so effort in Game 3, guard Kyrie Irving came back strong in the close-out game with 24 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and three assists. He didn't shoot the ball very well - 8 of 19 - but neither did many of his teammates.
7. The Cavs have won 31 of their last 32 games when scoring 100 points. They are 45-5 this season when they top the century mark.
8. Celtics forward Jae Crowder appeared to be knocked unconscious when he took the hit from Cavs guard J.R. Smith late in the game. Smith was ejected to swinging his fist behind him. It seemed to clip Crowder on the chin. Maybe he has a glass jaw. Smith, though, could face a one-game suspension for Game 1 of the East semifinals for his inappropriate actions.
9. We saw evidence today why the Cavs acquired center Kendrick Perkins. He came into the game and asserted his will on Crowder by knocking him down on a pick and later taking a swing at him. He's darn lucky that he didn't get ejected along with Smith for his tough-guy act. If he pulls that against Bulls center Joakim Noah, there's going to be more consequences.
10. Cavs guard Iman Shumpert might find himself in the starting lineup in Game 1 of the East semifinals if Smith is suspended. Shump was outstanding on Sunday with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
UP NEXT: Game 1, Eastern Conference semifinals, vs. the Chicago-Milwaukee winner, TBD (Saturday is the earliest start)
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Jae Crowder (6-6, 235)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 225) vs. Evan Turner (6-7, 205)
Celtics - G Chris Babb, G/F James Young
Tony Brothers, John Goble, Leroy Richardson