CLEVELAND -- Already heavy underdogs in this Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Boston Celtics, and trailing 2-1 in this best-of-seven affair, the Cleveland Cavaliers were dealt a massive blow after star guard Donovan Mitchell was officially ruled out for Monday's Game 4 with a calf strain.

But instead of a routine Boston blowout, this one was anything but, as the Cavaliers gamely hung in there for the vast majority of the 48 minutes before eventually falling 109-102 in front of a sellout crowd here at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

"To be expected, right?" said Jayson Tatum, who led the Celtics Monday with 33 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in just under 44 minutes. "When the best player goes out, everybody has more freedom, more opportunity.

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Mitchell hurt his calf late in the fourth quarter of Game 3, at the end of a stint that saw him play over 22 consecutive minutes in the second half. After not being present at all during the team's shootaround Monday morning at its practice facility, he was officially ruled out roughly an hour before tip Monday evening.


That Mitchell's absence came after yet another brilliant performance, in which he scored 33 points to go over 25 for a sixth straight game in these playoffs, only added to the disappointment.

The Celtics will head into Game 5 looking to close out a team at home for a second straight series after doing so in five games against Miami in the first round.

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