The Boston Celtics regained their form, rebounding from two straight losses to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 in game five of the Eastern Conference finals.
Boston regained the series lead 3-2 by jumping out to a 32-19 advantage after the first quarter. The Celtics rediscovered their tenacity on defense, forcing Cleveland to shoot just 42 per cent from the field on Wednesday.
Rookie Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks. Al Horford added 15 points and 12 rebounds while re-establishing his presence in the paint.
Jaylen Brown struggled to shoot, hitting just two of eight from three-point range, but the Celtics star finished with 17 points, contributing where and when needed.
LeBron James led the Cavaliers, flirting with a triple-double scoring 26 points with 10 rebounds and five assists, but once again received little help from his supporting cast.
It appeared the Cavaliers had cracked the Celtics' hold on the series by winning games three and four, but Boston were in control from the first whistle Wednesday, proving the team is not ready to fade into the night.
Celtics reserve Marcus Smart scored 13 points on five-of-nine shooting with four assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. Coming off the bench, Smart provided energy on both ends of the court, stifling the Cavs' offense, while hitting some shots of his own.
HILL, SMITH BATTLE
Cavaliers starting guards George Hill and J.R. Smith were completely outclassed Wednesday. Hill scored just seven points on one-of-five shooting, while Smith added two points on one-of-six shooting. Neither has been able to find their form all series.
CELTICS' IMPRESSIVE DEFENSE
Defense led to offense for the Celtics.
WARRIORS AT ROCKETS
Houston stole game four with a late rally, setting up a chance to fully utilise their home-court advantage. James Harden has been shaky at times throughout the playoffs, but he fought off Golden State's pesky defense to give the Rockets a chance at snapping the Warriors' reign out West. Golden State could be without Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, both ruled questionable for game five.
|Ndidi signs long-term Leicester City contract|
|Pandya tears through feeble England to put India in command|
|Alonso creates motorsport history with victory at Silverstone|
|Kovacic: Chelsea and Sarri believe in me|
|Brighton loss a big lesson for United – Pogba|
|Mistakes hit United´s confidence - Mourinho|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 3 Manchester United 2: Murray lifts Seagulls to another win over Mourinho|
|Quickfire Moon treble sets up Rhinos win|
|Manchester City celebrate win with Silva´s son|
|Brentford 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0: Maupay stars as Bees buzz by Owls|
|Guardiola delighted with fit and firing Aguero|
|Waring marks 200th event with maiden title in Gothenburg|
|Guardiola dismisses Mourinho´s ´disrespectful´ accusation|
|Hulkenberg proud to survive in F1´s pay driver era|
|It´s here, it´s real, get on with it - Dyche dismisses Europa League excuse|
|Grujic agrees Liverpool extension, joins Hertha on loan|
|Martial starts as Lukaku, Young return for Manchester United|
|Fury-Wilder to be staged in November or December - Warren|
|Manchester City 6 Huddersfield Town 1: Aguero hits hat-trick as champions triumph|
|Burnley 1 Watford 3: Hornets end away day woes as Deeney leads destructive display|
|McFarland cleared to leave Scotland and join Ulster|
|Simeone wants ´only the best´ for Filipe Luis amid PSG links|
|PSG signing Boateng rated ´50-50´ by Bayern president|
|Cipriani a positive influence, insists Gloucester head coach|
|Bayer Leverkusen´s Bailey signs contract extension|
|Jesus and Aguero start for City as Mahrez misses out|
|Federer unsure what to expect from Djokovic duel|
|Chievo goalkeeper suffers broken nose, whiplash in Ronaldo collision|
|Simmons lauds influence of ´big brother´ LeBron|
|PSG´s Cavani selected by Uruguay as Coito fills in for Tabarez|
|Starc leads tributes after ´leader of the pack´ Johnson retires|
|Hazard confirms he is staying at Chelsea this month|
|Liverpool´s Firmino dreaming of Premier League title glory|
|Raiders rock the Roosters as NRL´s top-four battle hots up|
|Erasmus demands improved Springboks|
|Athletics pull even with Astros in AL West|
|Mercurial quick Johnson retires from cricket|
|MLS Review: Royer leaves it late for Red Bulls, Dallas bounce back|
|Crotty concussed, Folau injured|
|DFB president Grindel sorry Ozil felt ´deserted´|
|Busch picks up first win of season in Night Race|
|NASCAR results at Bristol: Kurt Busch picks up first win of season in Night Race|
|Woakes welcomes back ´big-game player´ Stokes|
|´Genius´ Messi still amazes Valverde|
|All Blacks, Springboks await Namibia at Rugby World Cup|
|Federer to face Djokovic after Goffin withdraws|
|Rain halts plays at Wyndham Championship|
|De Gea will extend contract soon, says Mourinho|
|Halep to meet Bertens in Cincinnati final|
|Frampton set for Warrington fight after dominant Windsor Park win|
|Messi makes LaLiga history with Barcelona´s 6000th goal|
|MC Alger defeat throws quarter-final chase wide open|
|Barcelona 3 Deportivo Alaves 0: Messi´s milestone goal sets up victory|
|Djokovic on course for Masters 1000 history after Cilic victory|
|It´s on! - Wilder fight confirmed after Fury defeats Pianeta|
|Like Cruyff before him, Guardiola favouring Foden´s style over substance|
|Ronaldo tweets debut delight after Juve win|
|Chelsea are not title contenders yet, claims Sarri|
|Bayern Munich boss Kovac planning for Boateng stay|
|Championship Review: West Brom crush QPR as Leeds stay perfect|
|Allegri pleased with Ronaldo despite goalless Juventus debut|
|Chelsea can produce magic with Sarri in charge - Hazard|
|Emery ´happy without the result´ as Arsenal comeback falls short|
|Gordon confirms Cleveland Browns return|
|Eight shots and only 30 passes - Ronaldo´s Juventus debut in Opta numbers|
|Cristiano Ronaldo´s debuts: Best impressed, scoring a penalty & a blank for Juventus|
|Old boy Escare haunts Catalans in big Wigan win|
|Preston North End 2 Stoke City 2: Super sub Crouch salvages a point|
|Pochettino vows not to discuss Alderweireld future before five-minute answer|
|Waring, Aiken lead the way as Olesen stays in the hunt|