Celtics take 3-1 lead on Cavs

Cleveland — Jayson Tatum scored 33 points with LeBron James watching from a courtside seat and the Boston Celtics beat the severely short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers 109-102 in Game 4 on Monday night to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their East semifinal series.

Jaylen Brown added 27 for the Celtics, who can close out Cleveland with a win in Game 5 on Wednesday night at home.

Game 6, if necessary, would be back at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday.

The Cavs got pushed to the brink of elimination with two top players in street clothes on the bench, as Donovan Mitchell (calf) and Jarrett Allen (ribs) sat out with injuries. It was nothing new for a Cleveland team that dealt with injuries all season, but it was a big ask for the Cavs to try and survive without Mitchell, their All-Star guard who has carried the offensive load throughout the postseason, or Allen, their leading rebounder.

The top-seeded Celtics, who have shown a tendency to relax at the wrong time, didn’t show the Cavs much mercy.

Tatum had his second straight strong performance, adding 11 rebounds and five assists. Jrue Holiday had 16 points for Boston. — AP.

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