'He's human': Cavs coach defends LeBron after 'weird' loss

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The Celtics still trail 2-1, and while they won without Thomas in Game 3, winning three of the next four without him will be a monumental task.

The Cleveland Cavaliers fell apart in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday and lost to the Boston Celtics, 111-108. Without Isaiah Thomas in the lineup - usually something that makes them 5.7 points per 100 possessions worse overall - Marcus Smart had the best game of his career, Kelly Olynyk contributed with 15 points off the bench and Jonas Jerebko scored double-figures on a flawless 4-for-4 shooting from the field in 13 minutes of action. James had his worst night of the playoffs in Game 3, scoring only 11 points on 4 of 13 shooting. Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love all had outstanding nights.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) goes up for a rebound against Boston Celtics' Al Horford (42), from Dominican Republic, and Tyler Zeller (44) during the first half of Game 3 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, . With.1 seconds left on the clock, there was no protest for the refs to put more time on the clock. He had as many turnovers (6) as he did rebounds. It's not something we're going to hang our head on. Above he's watching as Avery Bradley's shot is about to bounce around the rim a few thousand times before settling inside the twine to give Boston the lead with.01 seconds left.

"I didn't have it", said James. Next, some guy named Jonas Jerebko, who spends enough time on the bench to practice shots from there, got on the floor and went a ideal 4-for-4.

"If he decides he's going to play again that's up to him", said Popovich.

"We had to get into the fight".

When a local radio reporter pressed him, LeBron showed his sensitive side by asking: "It seems like you only ask questions when we lose".

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Those streaks came to a screeching halt tonight with the game three loss, as the Cavs 13 straight playoff game win streak came to an end.

LeBron was already in a foul mood when he arrived at the podium because just moments earlier he had a brief exchange with a heckler.

So why let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory? Most were directed at his play, in which he took the blame for or the teams overall performance. He was testy after Sunday's game and then avoided reporters on Monday to leave his teammates and coach Tyronn Lue to explain his terrible performance "No blame", Lue told reporters. The Celtics believe their defense had a lot to do with that, although James said Boston didn't defend him any differently than when he scored 30 points in just 33 minutes in Game 2. He failed to block out and play physical basketball, while Celtics players took it to him. Suddenly, it was 95-all, and for the first time since Game 4 of last June's NBA Finals, the Cavs were in trouble at home in the playoffs. "It's a weird thing with you, Kenny, you always come around when we lose, I swear".The fan was escorted away as he was yelling his college stats to James.LeBron James, who has spent this postseason obliterating his opponents and forcefully reminding them he's the best player in the league, finally had a bad game. Will they sustain this level of play?

He does deserve a pass on Sunday because LeBron has been playing at breathtaking pace starting with Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Defensively, he's been nothing like the player we saw working passing lanes and causing havoc.

Generally, when referees see Marcus Smart during a game, their impulse is to reach for earplugs. "He sent everybody a text, and then Kelly [Olynyk] just called him, or he might have been calling Kelly right after the game, so it was nice to see a smile on his face".

James took just 3 shots in the 4th quarter and missed all of them. The so-called fan went on to say he played ball at Hiram College, a school in Hiram, Ohio. "Really good players do that sometimes. But I thought (the Celtics) played a big part of that".