CLEVELAND, May 13 – LeBron James scored 21 points while adding six rebounds and a playoff career-high 13 assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past Boston 88-77 to level their second-round series.
James dunked over National Basketball Association Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett in the final minutes to pull the Cavaliers even with top seed Boston at 2-2 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series.
"We took care of homecourt. That is what we needed to do," James said. "We held down homecourt, they held down homecourt. The better team has to win on the road to win the series."
James sank only 7-of-20 from the field but slammed the ball through the rim over Garnett with a windmill dunk to give the Cavaliers a nine-point lead with 1:45 to play.
While only 20-of-78 from the field for the series, James sparked Cleveland to victory. The Celtics were only 5-of-16 for only 12 points in the fourth quarter.
"We’ve been able to cover for each other, flying around and contest at the same time," James said. "It has been amazing."
Garnett finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds but the Celtics, who had the NBA’s best record in the regular-season, lost their fifth road game in a row in the playoffs.
Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen added 15 points for the Celtics while Paul Pierce added 13 points for the Celtics, who host game five Thursday.
"We’re not going to stop those guys, but the one thing we want our guys to do is make them work as hard as we can for their shots," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "If we do, then we’ve done our job."
Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao helped shut down Garnett, who was only 1-of-7 in the second half.
"What I tried to do is be physical with him and not give him any space to think about what to do," Varejao said. "And that’s what it is. It’s not only me, it’s the team."
Varejao also added 12 points and six rebounds.
"That’s my game – energy. Trying to help the team," Varejao said. "Rebound, run up and down, being active. That’s all I have to do to help the team. I don’t have to do anything else like scoring."
"It was phenomenal," Cleveland’s Wally Szczerbiak said. "He showed his value to this team. He was banged up. His knee was bothering him."