CLEVELAND — Once he got control of the ball and let his shot fly, Avery Bradley prepared to get mobbed Friday night.

The Boston Celtics had pulled off the improbable.

Bradley made a 3-pointer from the corner at the horn to give Boston a stunning 104-103 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers – the Celtics’ eighth win in nine games.

“I knew it was there,” said Bradley, who had to regain his dribble before launching the winner. “It’s a great feeling. I lost the ball for a second and I didn’t even think I had enough time to get the shot off, but I did.”

After blowing a seven-point lead in the last three minutes, the Celtics still trailed by four with seven seconds left before things began to bounce their way.

Boston was down 101-96 with 18 seconds left before Jae Crowder, who played on a tender ankle, made a 3-pointer – his only basket – and Evan Turner scored on a layup while being fouled by J.R. Smith with four seconds to go. Turner missed his free throw but the ball went out of bounds off LeBron James of Cleveland.

Celtics Coach Brad Stevens quickly drew up an inbounds play during a video review. As he took the floor, guard Marcus Smart had a premonition Bradley was about to be a hero.

“I had a feeling it was going in even before he shot it,” Smart said.

The bucket triggered a wild celebration by the young Celtics, who were swept by the Cavs in last year’s playoffs.

“In the big picture it does count as one (win), but it gives you a sense you’re improving and getting better,” Stevens said. “For us it would have been disappointing to lose that lead and not come out with a win. They made huge plays late in the game but our guys stayed poised. To score five points inside eight seconds is a good deal.”

James scored 30 points to lead the Cavs, who dropped to 5-3 under new coach Tyronn Lue.

Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points, and Turner had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who are developing into a dangerous team under Stevens.

James scored 13 in the fourth quarter for the Cavs. Cleveland went just 21 of 35 from the free-throw line.


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