C's defeat Grizzlies 98-80

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C's defeat Grizzlies 98-80

BOSTON Healthy. Hurt. It doesn't really matter much these days for the Boston Celtics, whose under-manned lineup continues to overwhelm opponents with a suffocating display defensively.

You can add the Memphis Grizzlies to the teams Boston (13-10) has defended well, with the C's coming away with a 98-80 win.

After a relatively close first half, Boston began to trend toward blowout status in the fourth quarter. Kevin Garnett led all scorers with 24 points that included another 3-pointer - his third straight game with at least one 3-pointer made.

Memphis did have former UConn star Rudy Gay, who led the Grizzlies with 21 points and seven rebounds.

It became all but official with 3:31 to play, as the C's emptied their bench with a 20-point lead.

The victory extends Boston's winning streak to four in a row, which ties their longest string of wins this season.

Boston began the game on a sour note by not having Brandon Bass available. Bass, one of the NBA's top reserves this season, had some swelling in his left knee and was unavailable. He is being listed as day-to-day.

But as we've seen many times with the Celtics of late, injuries only serve as an opportunity for someone else to step in and contribute.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game that Chris Wilcox and JaJuan Johnson would log most of the minutes in Bass' absence.

Getting one of the two playing well would have been nice.

Truth be told, both made the most of their increased role.

First there was Wilcox, had had 12 points off the bench - 10 of which came in the first quarter.

Johnson saw rare first-half action on Sunday, and didn't waste much time showcasing an offensive game that proved to be one of the many challenges facing the Grizzlies.

The 6-foot-9 rookie finished with 10 points, his second straight game scoring in double figures.

As for the Grizzlies, they also have had their share of key players out with injuries. Zach Randolph has been out for all but four games this season with a torn MCL injury. And just minutes before tip-off, Memphis found out they wouldn't have Tony Allen because of a heel and hip injury.

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

CLEVELAND – They had them right where they wanted them.

LeBron James was in foul trouble.

Kyrie Irving had not yet heated up, and the lead hovered above double figures but seemed oh-so-close to creeping upwards of 20 points if the Celtics did a better job of making open shots in the first half.

Those missed shots, combined with a Kyrie Irving takeover in the third quarter, would prove to be part of the narrative for Game 4 – missed opportunities - as the Cavs rallied for a 112-99 Game 4 win.

Cleveland now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, with a chance to eliminate the Celtics in Boston on Thursday and advance to the NBA Finals where a well-rested Golden State team will be awaiting them.

Irving led all scorers with a playoff career-high 42 points, 21 of which came in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Boston’s Avery Bradley had 19 points while Jae Crowder (18 points), Al Horford (16), and Kelly Olynyk (15) also finished with double figures scoring.

"He put the team on his back," said Tristan Thompson, regarding Irving's play. "He still has another gear."

Boston spent all of the fourth quarter playing from behind, failing to get that necessary made shot or defensive turnover or stop that they needed to slow down Cleveland’s growing momentum.

And with Irving making a slew of clutch baskets that put Cleveland in control, it was James’ turn to put the game away.

He did just that, finishing with 34 points which included 15 in the fourth quarter.

But for a good chunk of Tuesday’s Game 4 matchup, it looked as though the Celtics were coming back to Boston for Game 5 with the series tied up.

It was an odd game for sure, with nothing being any stranger than LeBron James being whistled for not one, not two, not three, but four personal fouls … in the first half.

The fourth came when he was whistled for an offensive foul against Terry Rozier with 6:46 to play and Boston ahead by 10 points.

With James on the bench, Cleveland managed to play Boston to a standstill as the half ended with the Celtics still leading by 10 points (57-47).

Cleveland slowly crept back in the game in the third, and eventually went ahead 73-72 following a pair of free throws by James with 3:15 to play in the quarter.

The Cavs were able to lead by as many as five points in the third quarter which ended with Cleveland ahead 87-80 as Irving scored the last 14 points for Cleveland which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that would be the final points scored in the quarter.

Cleveland’s strong finish to the third was a striking contrast to how the game began.

Boston got off to its best start in this series after a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder put the Celtics ahead 18-11.

The Celtics went ahead 22-13 after a pair of free throws by Jonas Jerebko and would eventually lead by as many as 16 points.

Meanwhile, James – the man Crowder was defending most of the time early on – had six points in the first quarter on 3-for-7 shooting.

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

BOSTON - Xander Bogaerts had three hits and three RBIs, Dustin Pedroia had a two-run double during a four-run seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 11-6 on Tuesday night.

Rick Porcello (3-5) won for just the second time at home despite allowing 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out four and allowed five runs, four earned.

Joey Gallo got his 14th homer for Texas, and Shin-Soo Choo went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.

Texas entered having won 11 of 12. The 11 runs allowed marked a season high.

Andrew Cashner (1-4) pitched five innings, allowing five runs, six hits and four walks. He also threw a pair of wild pitches, one of them allowing Bogaerts to score from third and put Boston up 2-1 after three.