The Celtics have their work cut out for them against the Cavs in the ECF. That's also a 16-3 record on the road for the Cavs in the playoffs over the past three seasons. Boston could not climb the hill to overtake Cleveland, who closed out with the win. James shook it off, more than happy to set up the Celtics' big men and beat them with strength, quickness and plain ruthlessness.
James went for 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in winning Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Stat D: LeBron James is 74-12 (.860) in career Eastern Conference playoff home games. Kyrie Irving rounded out the double figure scoring with 11 points. The first half finished with Cleveland holding a commanding 61-39 lead. But we've been talking, and he's been ready, and tonight was a huge performance from him. Nobody is better than James at forcing defenses to make an impossible decision, and nobody is harder to deceive with defensive coverages. "We had some lulls in the third quarter, but we brought some energy and intensity".
To begin the second quarter, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue switched his normal rotation.
"LeBron did a good job of setting the tone early", Lue said.
Other Things to NoteCleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacting during the game. As a Cleveland sports fan, that game was about as much as you could have wanted. Love, quiet in the Toronto series, scored 32 points against the Celtics.
Cleveland's disdain for the former Gonzaga star stems from this 2015 incident that ended Kevin Love's playoffs.
Ultimately, the Celtics found their rhythm in the second half (shooting 58 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3-point range) but the damage was already done by then. Obviously, we don't know the exact adjustments but we know they're gonna make adjustments.
Throughout the first part of the third quarter, it was the same story, with Washington still clinging to a four-point lead with just over four minutes to go in the frame.More news: Joe Biden talks 2020, says Hillary Clinton wasn't great candidate
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However, the Cavs were able to extend the lead right back to 20 points as Kyle Korver opened the fourth with a trey for 95-75 lead and the Celtics were only able to make the final closer in the final moments.
The game was more of the same for the way Cleveland's postseason has been going, but Boston did show signs of life in the second half, sparked by Avery Bradley (21 points), Jae Crowder (21 points), Jaylen Brown (10 points) and Gerald Green (11 points). Isaiah Thomas had 17 points.
One night after winning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 National Basketball Association draft, the Boston Celtics hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. But there was no mistaking that the Celtics began Game 1 Wednesday night running on fumes. James went for 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, a typical stat line for The King this time of year.
The Cavaliers dominated from the opening tipoff. It was the seventh NBA Finals appearance of James' career, but he had only hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy twice. Boston was 10-of-18 for 55.6 percent.
"We're not just happy to be here", Thomas added.
Against the Wizards, it was turnovers that absolutely killed games for them. All of his baskets came on 3-pointers from all over the court.
-James marked his 7th straight game with at least 30 points. Now they have Al Horford and a much formidable team.
Individual Rebounds: 40 (Brown 9).