CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving broke his own record for points in a playoff game by a LeBron James teammate Tuesday, scoring a career-playoff-high 42 in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 112-99 Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics.
The performance helped the Cavs overcome a 16-point deficit and grab a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. They will try to make it to the NBA Finals for a third consecutive season in Game 5 in Boston on Thursday.
Irving's previous career playoff high was 41 points, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals last season against the Golden State Warriors. That had been the most points a James teammate had scored in the postseason.
In this one, Irving scored 36 of his points following James' fourth foul with just less than seven minutes remaining in the first half, which forced James to the bench. Irving peaked in the third quarter, scoring 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting on a series of unrelenting drives to the basket through the Celtics' defense.
Over the last 6 minutes, 46 seconds of the second quarter, Irving put in 12 points to help the Cavs play the Celtics even with James on the bench.
In all, Irving made 10 baskets in the paint, tying his career high. He was 7-of-7 in the paint in the third quarter alone, many of the hoops coming on his trademark drives and using English and the backboard to get the ball into the hoop.
"I was saying to myself, 'They cannot tie up this series, they cannot,'" Irving said. "We had to be able to face adversity, look it in the face, and say, 'You're not going to win today.'"
Irving played through a left ankle injury; he rolled it on Celtics guard Terry Rozier's foot in the third quarter following a bucket in transition. He stayed down and grabbed his lower leg in pain. But he tightened his shoes and was able to stay in the game.
"I've twisted my ankle so many times on plays like that," Irving said. "You have two choices, you can sit there and wallow in the sorrow of you twisting your ankle or capture the moment."
After LeBron James picked up his 4th foul, Kyrie Irving carried the Cavaliers. We take a closer look pic.twitter.com/5dLibVxVWS— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 24, 2017
The ankle wasn't swollen after the game, but Irving expected he would be sore after his adrenaline wore off.
After being held scoreless in the fourth quarter of Game 3, James scored 15 of his 34 points in the fourth to close out Game 4. James, Irving and Kevin Love combined for 93 points, the most points the Cavs' three All-Stars have combined to score in a playoff game in their three seasons together. Love also set a career playoff mark by grabbing 17 rebounds.
"He's a special talent," James said about Irving. "He rose to the occasion and he put the team on his back. We definitely needed that effort from him."
The Cavs shot 59.5 percent for the game, tying their franchise record for best postseason shooting performance.
After the Celtics took their 16-point lead with James on the bench in the second quarter, James and Irving combined to outscore the Celtics 60-50 the rest of the way.
"You almost hit the ... runner's high," Irving said. "Where you get so juiced up when you see a few shots going in and then you feel emotion kind of take over. ... That's an incredible zone to be in, which I was tonight."