Avery Bradley’s game-winner or LeBron James’ 11 points — which was more unbelievable?
Bradley lifted the Celtics to victory on a rough night for King James
Welp, we didn’t see that coming. After dropping the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals by a combined 57 points, the Boston Celtics, somehow, some way, defeated the red-hot defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 — without their best player, mind you.
With Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas sidelined for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, the ball was placed in the hands of shooting guard Avery Bradley in crunch time. Bradley is known more for his defense than his shooting stroke, but with seconds remaining in a game tied at 108, he let it fly from deep. The wide-open shot hit every part of the rim before bouncing in with 0.1 seconds left on the clock, securing a 111-108 win for Boston.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 22, 2017
It’s worth noting that
the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead the Cavs blew a 21-point lead in Game 3, and LeBron James managed to score just 11 points after dropping 3o-plus points in eight consecutive playoff games.
So, which was more unbelievable, Bradley’s heroics or James’ humbling? Well, this isn’t the first time Bradley has been clutch against the Cavs in game-winning fashion, or James has had an off playoff game. The question is, which one happened more recently?
feb. 5, 2016 — Avery BradleY beats CAvs At BUzzer
Bradley ain’t new to this, he’s true to this, because Game 3 wasn’t the first time he stole one from the Cleveland Cavaliers on their home floor at Quicken Loans Arena. On Feb. 5, 2016, Bradley hit a corner 3-pointer over Cavs guard Iman Shumpert at the buzzer to deliver the Celtics a 104-103 win. Fast-forward 471 days and Bradley did it again, hitting his 3-pointer in Game 3 feet away from where he hit his 2016 shot. The first time, he swished it. The second time around, he got the shooter’s roll. No matter how it falls, Bradley is clutch at The Q.
May 28, 2014 — King james scores just 7 points in playoff loss
LeBron James is on a warp-speed journey to becoming the NBA’s all-time leader in playoff points, as he’s currently 61 points shy of eclipsing Michael Jordan for the top spot. The King’s high-scoring playoff outings make nights like Game 5 of the 2014 Eastern Conference finals hard to even fathom. On May 28, 2014, as a member of the Miami Heat, James put up a minuscule seven points on 2-for-10 shooting from the floor. Before the next game, James revealed that his oldest son, LeBron Jr. (aka Bronny), was far from impressed with his pop’s performance. Maybe his son’s words truly got to him, as James went years without playing that badly in the playoffs. James’ 11 points in Game 3 marked his lowest scoring total in his past 58 playoff games, dating to that infamous Game 5 of the 2014 Eastern Conference finals 1,089 days beforehand.
So, to answer our question, maybe James’ no-show in Game 3 was more unbelievable than Bradley’s game-winner after all.