LeBron James lit up Boston’s TD Garden with a stellar display as the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the Celtics 130-86 to race to a 2-0 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on Friday.
The Celtics suffered their worst postseason home loss in history and fell just three points shy of matching their worst playoff defeat. Boston was 12-of-38 for 31.6 pct.
Before you mark me down as insane, please understand how I’m defining the word “win”. It’s one game, and we know this team is a very scrappy team. But from a players and coaches standpoint, they’re not satisfied.
To make it tougher for Boston, James had help and the Cavaliers hit 28 of their first 45 shots and coasted, doing so in a game where Kyrie Irving, who usually kills the Celtics, scored just 11 points.
Thomas was lost to a right hip strain at halftime. Isaiah Thomas was just 1-of-3 from the free throw line.
“You can’t dig yourself in a big hole like that against them”, Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “On both ends of the floor our game plan was pretty tight”. “And we when we went back to the locker room, our training staff and doctors got with him”. He was pretty despondent not to be able to play. “For him to have to sit is really hard”.
“Today I thought he looked much different in the first half”, Stevens said.
“We wanted to come in and set the tone and dictate the game”.
“I think ultimately they were terrific, we were poor”.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives between Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) and guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during first half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Friday, May 19, 201. James has scored 30 or more points in eight of the first nine playoff games. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists.
Coming off a 10-day break, James and Cavaliers raced to an early lead were never threatened.
“Energy and our defensive intensity”, James said.
“LeBron did a good job of setting the tone early”, Lue said.
“I know what I bring to the table. That’s not for me to be concerned about”. Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which led by 14 points after one quarter, by 72-31 at the half and by 46 after three. The trio went a combined 11 of 21 from 3-point range.
A loss Friday would also leave Boston with the daunting proposition of having to win four out of five games to take the series – a almost impossible task against a team that since James returned to Cleveland in 2014-15 has a 33-4 playoff record against Eastern Conference opponents. “As well as we played tonight, we’ve got a couple of things we can do better”. I believe we have another level as well.
LeBron James’ teams are 20-0 all time in series that they’ve held a 2-0 lead, and the way this series has started, that ideal record doesn’t seem to be in any jeopardy.
Third-team selections were Washington’s John Wall and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan at guard, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler at forward, and DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers at center.
“We’re not scared of Cleveland”, he said, beginning a quote that would get play throughout the media. “Point blank, period”, said Brown. “They’re not on ‘Space Jam.’ Like, they lace up their shoes just like us”.
The Celtics changed their starting lineup, inserting Gerald Green in place of Amir Johnson. On the lone one-on-one possession in which Thomas was guarded by James – in the second quarter – the Boston guard was called for a travelling violation after James cut off his driving lane, contested his awkward layup attempt and forced Thomas to catch his own shot, resulting in a turnover.
The 130 points by Cleveland was the most ever scored by its franchise in a playoff game, as the Cavaliers head home with a 2-0 series lead.