Exactly what many predicted would happen after the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals took place, and that is LeBron James and the Cavs taking care of business on their home floor, Cleveland evened the series at two-apiece on Monday night with a 111-102 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4. James had another big night with 44 points, while also passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most made field goals in NBA postseason history. James's historic night helped his team shoot 50 percent from the floor, as they look to become just the 20th team out of 300 to overcome a 2-0 series deficit to advance. Kyle Korver added 14 points and three big blocks on Monday for the Cavaliers, who sent the Celtics to a tough 1-6 record on the road in the playoffs. Tristan Thompson also stepped up with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Cavaliers overcome Kevin Love putting up just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. Jaylen Brown finished with 25 points to lead the Celtics, who will return home for Game 5, as they are 9-0 at the TD Garden this postseason. Boston fell behind by 19 in the first half, but put together a second half rally to cut that deficit in to single digits, making things interesting late. Although, they were unable to get any closer than eight points, despite finishing with all five starters in double digits. They will host Game 5 of the series on Wednesday night.
Capitals Force Game 7 With Shutout
The Washington Capitals fell back to their normal postseason habit after jumping ahead early on, which put them in must-win territory on Monday night, and win they did. T.J. Oshie scored twice, while Braden Holtby made 24 saves, as the Capitals forced a seventh game with a 3-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Devante Smith-Pelly netted the first goal of the game for the Caps, who also got a power play tally and an empty net goal late from the veteran Oshie. Holtby was solid between the pipes and good enough for his fifth career postseason shutout. Washington played like a desperate team in what could very well be their final home game, boosting up the physicality to keep the Lightning off balance. One instance that maybe went a bit too far was when Smith-Pelly took out Dan Girardi so hard that he also took his own teammate, Jay Beagle, down with him. The aggressor in that collision admitted that he did apologize to Beagle, but there were no hard feelings. The likes of Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, and Brooks Orpik all got involved in the hard hits, helping the Capitals out-hit the Lightning by a wide margin of 39-19. That subsequently led to the Capitals out-shooting the Lightning, 34-24. Tampa Bay, who is 5-2 all-time in Game 7s, will host the decisive game on Wednesday night, with the winner facing the remarkable Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Harper, Soto Power the Nationals at Home
The Washington Nationals were forced to call up Juan Soto from Double-A last Sunday due to multiple injuries, but they are having similar results as the last time they called up a 19-year-old by the name of Bryce Harper. Soto connected for his first-career home run on Monday night, as the Nationals crushed the San Diego Padres at home, 10-2. The youngest player in the majors hit a three-run shot in the second inning off of Robbie Erlin, which was part of a five-run second inning. Harper also went deep for his 14th long ball of the season, which is good for second in the majors behind three American League sluggers, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Manny Machado. Mark Reynolds once again continued to improve many teams wrong that passed on him in free agency with two home runs on the night, as he now has four in just over a week with his new team. The four home runs for the Nats all supported starter Gio Gonzalez, who lasted seven innings and gave up just two runs in his fifth win of the year. Soto, in his first career start, became the first teenager to homer in a major league game since September 30th, 2012, when Harper hit his first-career blast with these same Nationals. In three minor league stops, the Soto hit a combined .362 with 14 home runs and 52 RBI before being called up. He may earn himself a spot on this contending roster, as they will continue this home series with the Padres on Tuesday night.