|Date of game: 3/3/2015
Boston Celtics (23-34) at Cleveland Cavaliers (37-24), 7 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James said he failed his teammates last time out.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will forgive the NBA's best player when they host the Boston Celtics Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
James and the Cavaliers suffered a hard-fought 105-103 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets Sunday on the road and the four-time NBA MVP missed two free throws with 4.2 seconds left in OT. The Rockets held on for the two-point win.
"I didn't come through for my teammates tonight," James said. "Guys put us in position to win the game and I didn't come through for them. So ... it won't happen again."
James was 3-for-11 at the foul line and Cleveland missed 11 of its 21 shots at the charity stripe. James said he was out of rhythm at the line all night.
"I just didn't have a rhythm and it's no excuse," he added. "I missed free throws. I missed the two biggest ones of the game to put us up with seconds on the clock and I didn't come through. I failed my teammates."
He said afterward the team is different when point guard Kyrie Irving is out because he has to handle the ball more often. There are less plays in the post for James, but that could change Tuesday with Irving listed as probable with a shoulder strain.
James finished with 37 points in Houston after resting in Friday night's 93-86 loss at Indiana. Kevin Love scored 21 points and Tristan Thompson had a big game off the bench with 14 points and 19 rebounds.
The game was chippy at times with James getting tangled with Patrick Beverley and James Harden. Harden kicked James in the groin area and was issued a flagrant foul as well as a one-game suspension.
"It was old-school basketball," James said. "When you have two teams with the same aspirations and trying to get better every day, it can get like that."
The Cavaliers are 18-4 since Jan. 15 and have won 11 in a row at home. They have a 22-9 record at the Q and have outscored opponents by an average of 14.8 points during the home streak. Cleveland had a 16-game win streak as the host from Feb. 11 - April 12, 2009.
Cleveland will visit Toronto and Atlanta after hosting the Celtics.
Boston went 2-1 on a recent homestand and is scheduled to play four of the next five games on the road.
The Celtics had won three in a row and seven of their last 10 games, but dropped a tough 106-101 decision to the mighty Golden State Warriors on Sunday. Golden State trailed by as many as 26 points in the first half before surging back into the game in the fourth quarter.
Warriors MVP candidate Stephen Curry scored 37 points.
Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points off the bench to lead Boston, while Tyler Zeller had 17 points and Evan Turner netted 10 with nine rebounds and six assists. Brandon Bass was busy with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
"Somehow, you have to try and take some positives away," said Thomas, who was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. "The ball didn't move. I think that's what hurt us in the fourth quarter."
The Celtics hope to get a boost Tuesday with the pending return of center Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk hasn't played since Jan. 22 at Portland and is averaging 11.1 points per game.
Boston will host Utah Wednesday, then will visit New Orleans, Orlando and Miami.
Cleveland edged Boston, 122-121, on Nov. 14 and James pumped in 41 points to help the Cavaliers erase a 19-point deficit. Irving scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter for Cleveland, which ended a three-game slide in this series. The Cavs and Celtics will meet again April 10 and 12.
James has scored at least 20 points in each of his last 34 games against the Celtics. In 37 career games versus Boston, he is averaging 30.4 ppg.