The come-from-behind win gave the NBA defending champion Cavaliers a comfortable 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals, pushing them a game away from a third straight NBA Finals showdown against the Golden State Warriors, who punched their ticket with a sweep of the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.
But the Cavs found their footing late in the half and were able to stay within striking distance - trailing by only 10 at intermission.
But it was Irving who was the undeniable star of the show for his spellbinding third quarter masterpiece that transformed the game. With 2:40 left in the third quarter, he hit a three to surpass Jordan for the all-time mark.
In the fourth, the Cavaliers looked like themselves again. "To lose Game 3 in the fashion that we did and the way that Boston challenged us continuously, we needed all that to propel us to this moment", Irving said.
Durant did make the western conference weaker with his departure from Oklahoma City, and he took away a series fans always looked forward to-when the Warriors and Thunder would go at it-but in the bigger picture, Durant made this year's Finals one of the most anticipated matchups in National Basketball Association history.
On the night, Irving went 15-for-22 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from long-range and 8-of-9 from the stripe. Cleveland won the 2016 title after Golden State prevailed in 2015.
"I don't care who you're playing, to make it to the NBA Finals, to win your conference finals, it's a big task", Brown said. James is 28 points shy of overtaking Jordan as the postseason's leading scorer.
Kyrie & LBJ combine for 76 points and KLove tallies a double-double.
LeBron James' first playoff points came on a driving layup against the Washington Wizards in the opening quarter of the 2006 National Basketball Association playoffs.
"It's probably up there", James said after practice on Sunday when asked if the upcoming Warriors clash represents the toughest task he has ever faced on court. They just found ways to win games. "It doesn't matter who you're going against or how you get the job done, you're just trying to figure it out, and I think we did that".
Kevin Love added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavs, now 11-1 in the postseason.
The Celtics were led by guard Avery Bradley, with 19 points. "You take it hard when you go home, but then the next day, you wake up and it's a new day". But LeBron's two straight buckets got Cleveland to within a touchdown and J.R. Smith's massive put-back dunk electrified the arena and fueled the Cavs burgeoning comeback. Irving kept the good times rolling when he ended a scoring drought with a 23-foot step-back three-pointer from the left corner.
By the Numbers - 24.5, 12.8 ...
We'll see what kind of chirping ensues between Green and the Cavs. It's this generation's ShowTime Lakers, led by Magic Johnson, going up against Larry Bird's Boston Celtics in the 80's. But we're both better.
James spoke Thursday during the morning shootaround before the Cavaliers play the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.