LeBron James courtside for Cleveland Cavaliers defeat to Boston Celtics

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David Dermer/AP

LeBron James was courtside to watch his old Cleveland Cavaliers team.



CNN
 — 

LeBron James sat courtside for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 102-109 defeat to the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday.

The 39-year-old, who led the Cavaliers to their first and only NBA championship in 2016, received a huge ovation from the crowd when he appeared on the big screen following a montage of his best moments in Cleveland.

James’ presence wasn’t enough to inspire the Cavaliers, however, as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 60 points to lift the Celtics to a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Tatum finished with a game high 33 points to go with 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Brown had 27 points and eight rebounds.

The Cavaliers were without star guard Donovan Mitchell, who missed the contest due to a calf strain suffered in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

The news was a pre-match sucker punch for Cleveland, with Mitchell putting up 33 points in the Game 3 loss on Saturday, his sixth straight playoff game scoring at least 25 points.

In his absence, Darius Garland scored a team high 30 points, while Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert both added 19 in a gritty Cleveland performance that ultimately wasn’t quite enough against the No. 1 seed Celtics.

“There’s nothing better than winning a playoff game on the road,” Brown said, per ESPN. “It’s like everybody against you guys, you come here with the guys in the locker room.

“It’s a tough environment, the crowd was great, but as a competitor, it’s really fun to be in an environment like that, win on the road.

“Now it’s time to go back and play well in front of our fans and give them something to cheer for and try to get a win.”

Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

Jayson Tatum scored a game high 33 points for the Celtics.

The Celtics will be looking to close out the series and book their place in the Eastern Conference finals when the two teams return to TD Garden for Game 5 on Wednesday.

Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he was proud that his players “gave us everything that they had.”

Despite now being just a game away from elimination, Garland was bullish in his post-match interview.

“We just have to fight through all of this. It’s not going our way, but just keep fighting. That’s what we always do,” he said.

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