Basketball

Cavaliers even series with Celtics

LeBron James had 21 points and 13 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 88-77 in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal on Monday night.

LeBron James put the Cleveland Cavaliers on even terms with a spectacular performance in an 88-77 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal on Monday night.

James had game highs of 21 points and 13 assists to go with six rebounds as Cleveland tied the best-of-seven series 2-2.

Game 5 goes Wednesday at Boston (8 p.m. ET).

"We took care of home court and turned it into a three-game series," James said.

Daniel Gibson and Wally Szczerbiak scored 14 points apiece for the Cavaliers.

Anderson Varejao contributed 12 points coming off the bench.

Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each had 15 points for the Celtics, who fell to 0-5 on the road in the playoffs.

"I have no answer for it," Allen said.

"We're disappointed right now," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce, who scored 13 points.

"I had a lot of shots that I usually make. But I'm not going to really dwell on it."

Boston was held to 12 points in the fourth quarter, while James dominated the final nine minutes, doling out four assists, hitting a three-point basket and a thunderous slam dunk over Garnett, the NBA's defensive player of the year.

"I just wanted to be aggressive," James said. "I hadn't had a play like that all series."

James is shooting only 26 per cent (20-78) in the series, but he outplayed Garnett, who had two points in the second half.

Early in the contest, Pierce wrapped his arms around James to prevent him from dunking, and the players' momentum carried them in the front row of the crowd.

That prompted James' mother, Gloria, to leap out of her seat and grab at Pierce.

As she was embraced by Garnett, James yelled at her to sit down.

He calmly hit two free throws to put Cleveland ahead 41-33.

With files from the Associated Press

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