Final: Celtics 97, Cavaliers 87. The Celtics hold on. They've done it — they've evened this series at two games apiece, and we're headed back to Cleveland for Game 5 on Tuesday night.
Just an incredible effort for Rajon Rondo in this crucial playoff game. The Celtics' young point guard finishes with 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, arguably the best performance of his career.
The C's have made this a series again. From here, it's best two out of three. Anyone can win.
Fourth quarter, 1:23, Celtics 92-85: The Cavs have started fouling. They've gotten desperate.
As long as the Celtics can bear down and hit their free throws down the stretch, it should be smooth sailing to the win and the even 2-2 series.
Fourth quarter, 2:15, Celtics 90-84: The Celtics go up five again on a thunderous dunk from Paul Pierce, off of a Rondo assist.
Rondo's numbers in this game now: 25 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists. Just an incredible performance for him in a pivotal playoff game for the Celtics. They've got two minutes now to close this thing out.
Fourth quarter, 2:53, Celtics 88-84: The Celtics had better hope this one doesn't see overtime, because the whole team might foul out if they have to play five more minutes.
Paul Pierce has five personal fouls, Ray Allen has five, Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace have four each. Kevin Garnett and Tony Allen have three each.
But it's by staying physical that the Celtics have kept this lead. And they can't let up now. Whatever the consequences, they've just got to keep doing what's worked up until now.
Fourth quarter, 3:52, Celtics 88-84: Tony Allen now has 14. He's been a war hero for the Celtics down the stretch. The lead inches back to four for the C's.
Fourth quarter, 4:51, Celtics 86-81: LeBron doesn't look happy. His shots aren't falling, and the Celtics haven't let up the intensity.
The Cavaliers do get a break, though, as Tony Allen gets to the line here and misses two huge free throws. The window is still open for the Cavs to make a push and get this game back.
Fourth quarter, 6:15, Celtics 86-78: A quick 6-2 burst from Cleveland, capped off by a lousy turnover and an easy transition dunk for LeBron, gets a timeout out of Doc Rivers. This one's not over yet.
For Doc, this one will be tricky. Do you slow the game down, hold the lead and run out the clock? Or do you push your edge, taking this momentum and running with it?
He'll probably opt for the latter. This game is far from over, and the Celtics need to stay amped up to 11.
Fourth quarter, 8:36, Celtics 84-72: In Game 1, the Celtics lost because they couldn't keep up the intensity in the fourth quarter. That doesn't look like it's happening this time.
The C's are on a 12-0 run. They've taken over this game with energy, with speed, with toughness.
Whoever said this team was old? The Boston youngsters are taking over the game. Rondo, T.A. and Big Baby are the story of this fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter, 10:16, Celtics 76-72: Can't say enough good things about how Tony Allen has stayed tough against LeBron on every singly possession. He's keeping the Celtics in this game with his hustle.
End of third quarter, Celtics 74-72: The Celtics have clawed their way back into the lead to close the third quarter — and Rajon Rondo has himself a triple-double.
By closing the quarter with a couple of nice passes to Tony Allen for buckets inside, Rondo has now worked his way to 21 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. It's his first triple-double since March 24, when Rondo had 11, 11 and 15 in a win over the Denver Nuggets at home.
The C's need to work hard for 12 more minutes and close this thing out. Rondo will have to lead the way.
Third quarter, 3:25, Celtics 66-65: Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen now have 18 points each. The Celtics have needed every last one of them.
The tag team of LeBron and Shaq continues to keep the Cavaliers close. The Cavs are pounding the ball inside and taking it to the hole, and they're working hard defensively to limit the C's opportunities.
Double-digit leads are a thing of the past for the Celtics. This one will go down to the wire, and the C's will have to earn this win.
Third quarter, 6:26, Celtics 64-60: What were the odds that at this point in the game, with the score close and the pressure building, that Cleveland's leading scorer would be Shaquille O'Neal?
Believe it. Shaq is working hard in the low post against Kendrick Perkins, and he's got a team-high 17 points to show for it.
The Cavs are trying to use their strength inside to push back into this game. The C's need to stay physical and make sure it won't work.
Third quarter, 9:10, Celtics 58-51: It's been said a million times, but it still bears repeating: Let LeBron James hang around, and he'll make you pay.
LeBron's first bucket of the second half cuts the Boston lead to seven. He's fired up now, and he wants to carry the Cavs all the way back. The C's will have to maintain their tough defense to keep King James from finding his rhythm.
Halftime, Celtics 54-45: The Celtics make one more push before the break, and they now have a solid nine-point lead heading into the locker room at halftime.
Rondo has been absolutely huge. He's got 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and the C's are rolling.
LeBron has labored his way to 13, but it hasn't been enough.
Second quarter, 3:29, Celtics 47-42: The Cavs quietly remain within striking distance.
LeBron James is having a tough afternoon, not getting the calls he's used to and not getting any easy looks at the basket. But he's worked hard for his 12 points and three assists, and he's keeping things close.
The Celtics would love to get one last push in before halftime. With King James lurking, you can never be too safe.
Second quarter, 6:57, Celtics 41-32: The Cavs cut the Boston lead to three with a quick 7-0 scoring burst, but the C's come back with a 7-1 run of their own, interrupted only by a technical free throw via an illegal defense call.
The Cavs have repeatedly made the mistake of leaving Ray Allen wide open for jumpers on the wing, and he's capitalized in a big way. Back-to-back buckets from Ray here push the Celtic lead back to nine. The Boston shooting guard has 12 points now to lead all scorers today.
Second quarter, 9:27, Celtics 34-26: I swear to God, there are no typos in this sentence: Rasheed Wallace in this game has two points, one rebound and four personal fouls. Seriously.
The C's are doing everything they can to keep the Cavs working hard inside, limiting the touches of Shaq and Anderson Varejao, but you could say they're doing a little too much.
Four fouls, early in the second quarter. That's just unreal.
The C's will have to lean on Rondo's energy and explosiveness to keep them on top in this one.
End of first quarter, Celtics 31-22: Rajon Rondo's first quarter: 12 minutes, 11 points, five rebounds, three assists. All the effort in the world.
With every playoff game, it only becomes clearer: It's going to be Rondo's job to carry this team in the playoffs if they want to go deeper.
The C's started this game down 7-0 and they've gone on a 31-15 run since. Rondo's been the driving force behind that.
He'd better keep it up.
First quarter, 2:49, Celtics 24-17: It's a 19-5 run for the Celtics, who continue to apply the pressure defensively and work hard on the other end, scrapping for second-chance points.
It's the little things, the hustle plays that have put the Celtics in the driver's seat in the first quarter. If they can't get one open look to work, they work hard and find another. They miss one shot, they fight for the offensive rebound and find another. These C's aren't taking no for an answer.
Mike Brown needs a timeout. Presumably, it's to tell his Cavs that they can't afford to be out-hustled like this in a game of this magnitude.
First quarter, 6:23, Celtics 14-12: The Celtics have picked up the intensity a bit defensively, and they're working to force turnovers and get stops.
Kendrick Perkins stuffs a Mo Williams jumper, and the Celtics come back with a three-point play underneath from Paul Pierce; the C's have their first lead of the game at 14-12.
The Celtics are playing with a newfound sense of urgency now, ready to take this lead and run with it.
If only they'd come out this hard in the first two minutes…
First quarter, 9:41, Cavs 7-0: Doc Rivers calls for a very early timeout here in the first quarter. I'd say he needs it.
The Cavs are having their way with the Celtics in the opening minutes, making the C's work for everything on their end and thoroughly outworking them offensively.
Antawn Jamison looks too fast for Kevin Garnett. LeBron James looks too powerful for Ray Allen. Rajon Rondo is working to contain Mo Williams, but every time he tries to pick him up, the Cavs have a screen ready to get him some space.
The Cavs are playing like they really want this one.
2:45 p.m.: It's a relatively quiet afternoon in the Celtics' locker room, 45 minutes before the start of Game 4. Call it the calm before the storm.
Everyone's healthy, everyone's rested and everyone's ready to go — at 3:30, we'll find out if the Celtics have what it takes to bounce back from Friday night and tie this Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.
8 a.m.: Well, that was an eye-opener.
All that talk about the Celtics regaining the momentum in the Eastern Conference semifinals was quickly silenced on Friday night at the TD Garden, as the C's were completely blown out on their home floor by LeBron James and the Cavaliers, 124-95. If they want to reclaim the upper hand now, they've got to start all over again.
The Celtics now trail two games to one in their best-of-seven series with the Cavs, but they've got a chance to even the series again in front of their home crowd — as well as a national TV audience on ABC on Sunday afternoon.
The pressure is on the C's — if they don't win this one, they're down 3-1 and headed back to Cleveland with a near-impossible mountain to climb. They'd best win now.