(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Celtics will try to get into their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the Cleveland Cavaliers when Game 3 shifts to TD Bank Garden Thursday night.
The Cavs won the first two games of this best-of-seven by an average of 10.5 points, but the Celtics were tough. After a 113-100 win on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland prevailed 99-91 Tuesday.
"We know we're playing a worthy opponent and now we go on the road," said Cavaliers coach David Blatt. "It's clear that nothing is coming easy, and we have to meet that challenge."
LeBron James scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out seven assists to lead the Cavaliers in Game 2. He committed six of Cleveland's 18 turnovers but came through down the stretch. He also passed Jerry West for seventh on the NBA's all-time postseason scoring list.
Kyrie Irving followed up his 30-point playoff debut with 26 points for the Cavaliers, while Timofey Mozgov and Kevin Love chipped in 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Boston led at the end of one, 26-25, and used a 12-2 run in the middle stages of the second to take its largest lead at 45-36.
The Cavs had an answer, scoring 15 of the final 20 points in the half to take a slim 51-50 lead into the break. They looked as if they were going to pull away with a quick 10-0 run in the third quarter, highlighted by a pair of alley-oop tosses. James sent one to Love from halfcourt for a reverse slam, then received one from Irving in transition to give the hosts a healthy 68-54 cushion with just under seven minutes left in the quarter.
The pesky Celtics did not go away quietly and even pulled within two, 79-77, when Isaiah Thomas converted a three-point play with 9:17 remaining in regulation.
From there, James scored 11 of his game-high 30.
With Cleveland holding a 95-89 lead inside two minutes left, James missed wildly on a straightaway 3-point try. Tristan Thompson came down with one of his five offensive rebounds and kicked it back to James, who drove past a flat-footed Tyler Zeller and went in for a left-handed layup.
Thomas turned it over on the ensuing possession, and the Cavs held on from there.
"I thought we were great in the first half on the offensive glass," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "At the end of the game, those offensive rebounds by Thompson obviously separated it ... those were huge, huge plays."
Thomas once again led the Celtics with 22 points, but it wasn't enough for the underdogs to steal homecourt advantage. Jared Sullinger added 14 points, followed by 11 from Zeller and 10 apiece out of Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder.
The Celtics won three of the last four meetings between the teams in Boston, although they split this season.
Game 4 will be Sunday afternoon in Beantown.