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Lue: Cavs' Irving feeling 'good' after Game 4 ankle injury

Cleveland, stunned by Boston in Game 3 after romping two blowout wins in the opening two games of the Eastern Conference series, looked to be heading for another shock as the Celtics dominated the first half.

He also showed his mental toughness after spraining his left ankle with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter when he stepped on Terry Rozier's foot on a fast-break layup.

But it's not out of the ordinary for Irving. Much was made of Horford's 15 total rebounds in Cleveland's four-game sweep of the Hawks last season, and he now sits at 18 rebounds through four games in this series. If Irving had not suffered a broken kneecap early in the 2015 NBA Finals, the Cavaliers might be going for a three-peat this season. "But while I can sit here and say that, Kyrie Irving was very special tonight". His season scoring average in 2016-17 was 25.2 points a game.

But here's what's insane.

"The closeout game is always the hardest and Boston is going to make it even harder", said LeBron James, who rebounded from a playoff-low 11 points in Game 3 to score 34 in Game 4. First, second or third teams.

Hip injuries in particular are tricky.

The first-team guards were Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Smart, who started in place of Thomas, said, "Everybody had to step up their game, especially with one of our brothers down". The third-team guards were John Wall and DeMar DeRozan. The only way I've seen Irving change since entering the league is he isn't "the guy" for the Cavs anymore. Sometimes, if you get lucky, the Warriors will take a play or two off and have Curry or Durant create a shot.

Sakho deal must make financial sense for Palace: Allardyce
I'm not criticising the FA because they felt they needed to make a decision. "But I haven't seen him yet". Spurs' current first team does not need too much altering, but rather strength in numbers.

Thomas said it with a smile, but make no mistake: at 29, and after making roughly $29 million through what will be his first seven National Basketball Association seasons when he hits free agency next July, he is - quite understandably - going to be looking to cash in.

Through four games one thing has been made clear, the Cavaliers will not struggle if they are driving into the paint with success. While regular-season samples aren't predictive of postseason performance, a player's previous work against the playoff version of an opponent can be.

Marc Gasol is a superstar.

Among the other 28 teams in the league, it can be easily argued that the Boston Celtics are in the best position. He made all-NBA four times - three thirds and a second. For a team to play a bit loose in a blowout in the making is understandable. That was before they signed Kevin Durant.

Even Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who will enter the Finals with 2,872 career playoff points as a 28-year-old, is nearly exactly 1,000 points behind LeBron's pace at that same age (3,871).

That's remarkable consistency by both players.

It just may be that while James is the best player in the Eastern Conference, Irving is the second-best.

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