Quantcast


LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers came out guns blazing in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals dispatching the Celtics in Boston, 117-104. The Cavs dominated the first half and James led the way with 38 points on 14 of 24 shooting and 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Kevin Love had monster game as well scoring 32 points and 12 rebounds knocking down 6 of 9 of his three-point attempts.

For the Celtics, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder scored 21 a piece and Isaiah Thomas somewhat rebounded from a dismal 1st half shooting effort to finish with 17 points (7 of 19) and 10 assists. But the one bright light for the Celtics was the play of rookie Jaylen Brown as he finished with 10 points on 5 of 7 and 9 rebounds in 20 minutes.

The Celtics came out the gate looking a little tight and Cleveland asserted their dominance on the offensive glass early with Tristan Thompson grabbing 3 offensive rebounds in the opening minutes of the 1st quarter. The Cavs jumped out to a 22-9 start while getting 16 of those points in the paint. The Celtics D was a mixture of sloppy and overmatched early.

Cleveland finished the quarter with 30 points, LeBron had half of them shooting 87.5% (7-8). Kelly Olynyk entered the game to cheers from the Garden crowd that remembered his heroics from Monday night. He responded by going 0 for 3, a bad offensive foul negating a Jaylen Brown dunk, made a turnover, and got called for a 3-second violation. All in the first quarter! The C's trailed by 11 heading into the 2nd (30-19).


If the 1st quarter looked bad, it did, the 2nd was much worse. The Cavs ran off a 10-0 run midway through to jump out to a 23-point lead (48-25) with 5:17 to go in the 1st half.

The C's doubled-down on their poor shooting in the 2nd quarter. They headed into halftime shooting a putrid 35.6% as a team and 12.5% from three. Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford shot a combined 4 for 19 in the 1st half, and the Celtics lone bright spot was rookie Jaylen Brown coming off the bench to go 4 for 4 for 8 points and 4 rebounds while he was the only player to have any success attacking the basket for the C's.

Meanwhile James showed no rust at all after a 9-day layoff and looked to be firing on all cylinders scoring 23 points on 10 of 15 shooting with 5 rebounds and 4 assists as he was unstoppable getting to the hoop again and again. The Cavs almost had as many points in the paint (36) as the Celtics had in the entire 1st half. Cleveland led 61-39 at the break.

Both Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love nearly had double-doubles in the 1st half and their combined 16 rebounds was more than the entire Celtics team had accumulated (14).

This video sums up the 1st half pretty effectively...


...LeBron did whatever he wanted.

The 2nd half didn't open very promising for the C's with 6-straight points from Kevin Love right off the rip and although the Celtics started making some shots they still had no answer for the Cavs on the defensive end.


Avery Bradley just missed a posterizing dunk on LeBron's head, and things started to get a little testy shortly thereafter. A dust up between Thompson and Smart, then Thompson and Isaiah, and then ANOTHER one between Thompson and Smart all in the span of under 2 minutes. The Celtics managed a 10-1 run through that stretch to bring the Cavs lead under 20 but yet another three from Love attempted to thwart the momentum.

Horford answered back with a three of his own and after Kyle Korver missed the mark on the other end then Marcus Smart jammed home a miss in close from Bradley to cut the Cavs lead to 17 (92-75) to end the 3rd:


The Celtics' offense continued to roll to start the 4th but they couldn't gain any grown because they couldn't get stops. Smart chalked up his 6th foul just a few minutes in on an aggressive boxout trying to create a lane for Jaylen that was already really there.

We also got to witness something more rare than a lunar eclipse:


Both teams emptied their benches with over three minutes left in the game, and essentially the hole the Celtics found themselves in earlier in the game was just too much to dig out of against a team a strong as the Cavs. Cleveland essentially sat most of the 2nd half in cruise control and still never surrendered much ground.

Game 2 is Friday night in Boston.


Related: Key factors to the Celtics-Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals series

Photo Credit - Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401

Mark Allison 5/17/2017 11:10:00 PM Edit
_________________________________________________________________________
« Prev Post Next Post »

Recent Posts
_______________________________________________________________________________________

comments powered by Disqus