Kevin Love finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds, and nailed six of nine 3-pointers, most off whip passes from James.
The Cavaliers came into the game with a speed, ferocity and focus that the Celtics simply couldn't match, as they outscored Boston by 10 in the first quarter and then by 10 in the second quarter again. "One of the reasons they're great at rebounding is - their effort to the glass is great, (Kevin) Love and (Tristan) Thompson specifically - but they're also working against scrambling defenses a lot".
"I saw that in Kev this morning", James said after the Cleveland Cavaliers' 117-104 win. "So he came through for us". It was his seventh consecutive playoff game scoring at least 30 points, a personal record. Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue admitted he was at fault for Love's pedestrian numbers in the first two rounds and vowed to get him more involved offensively, especially given the favorable matchup against Boston.
This is the Tristan Thompson series: On this team, and in the reality that is the National Basketball Association, there's really no such thing as a Thompson series when your teammate happens to be at worst the second-best player in National Basketball Association history. Yet, they showed no signs of rust in the first quarter, as they stormed to a 30-19 lead over the Celtics, at the end of the period.
"You can't dig yourself in a big hole like that against them", Boston coach Brad Stevens said. James scored 25 in a ideal first half, and the Celtics made just enough shots to force him to continue mauling them on both ends of the floor in the second. It was the best game of the 2016-17 playoffs so far for Love, who scored 12 points in four games against Toronto in the second round and score in double digits just twice. "They were more physical", Thomas said. We kind of know what they want to get to, they kind of know what we want to get to.
"He's really setting the tone for us in these playoffs".More news: Grassley Seeks Copies of Reported Comey Memos and Possible Trump Tapes
More news: Putin willing to turn over transcript of Trump meeting with Russians
More news: Sanchez keeps Arsenal in top-four hunt
"No advantage at all", James said, via James Herbert of CBS.com. "It wasn't just me".
Every postseason game the Cavaliers play this spring is a reminder of how foolish it was to wonder if they could flip the switch and be ready for the playoffs. Some jawing continued briefly before James stepped in to pull Thompson away.
Smart, meanwhile, was an energy-giver, as always, who at times was matched up with Cleveland's offensive rebounding machine, power forward/center Tristan Thompson.
It didn't last long, though, as the Cavs quickly got the lead back up to 20.
James Delivers Knock Out PunchCleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives towards Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41). Other times, he simply took defenders off the dribble or sliced through double teams on the way to layups. Maybe those small-ball lineups also played a key role in the Cavaliers shooting just 40.5 percent from the field during the second half of the game.
After falling behind by as many as 28 points, the Boston Celtics clawed back into the game but there was just too much ground to make up against a motivated Cleveland team that needed just 48 minutes to get back home court advantage, something the Celtics worked all season to claim. Well, it's already the NBA Playoffs and during the Cavaliers' eight victories, he averaged 34.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.1 assists.