Back to Boston: LeBron, Celtics meet again in postseason
19 May, 2017, 18:18
Games 3 and 4 will be at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday and Tuesday. There was no concern about too much rest.
Boston found some energy following a nose-to-nose confrontation between Boston's Marcus Smart and Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, which resulted in both players getting fouls. LeBron was LeBron. And despite another off shooting night from Kyrie Irving, nothing really was that competitive. Tyronn Lue was playing for the Atlanta Hawks.
The Cavs are back in Boston Friday night for Game 2 and by now they realize this is a more focused and determined Cavaliers team than they had seen in the regular season.
LeBron James began the game 7-of-8 from the floor and recorded 15 points in the opening quarter of the game. The last time he failed to do so was the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic. "Playoffs, the crowd intensifies, the games get a lot tougher". Or will Boston Celticsfinally break the tradition and become the new Eastern Conference representatives in the NBA Finals? The Cavaliers are always going to find ways to score, the Celtics can not be ineffective on the offense end and hope that James will start making the mistakes that he hasn't made at any point in the playoffs. Prior to The Decision, he was only 42-25 (.627) in his first five trips to the Eastern Conference playoffs. Good for the league, bad for the league, the Cavaliers and James don't care. "Every game matters. Every single possession matters". That only occurred in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
In what was expected to be a competitive game between the East's first and second seeds, the Cavaliers just upheld their playoff status quo: to dominate and flat-out embarrass the opposing team. Those four seasons were 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2016.
As usual, the Cavs' dominance started with LeBron. The Celtics will be feeling good that they were able to keep the final score respectable, but the game really was over by halftime as the Celtics were trailing by 61-39. The next-most frequent opponents have been the Indiana Pacers (23 games, 16-7, .696), Chicago Bulls (21 games, 16-5, .762) and Detroit Pistons (21 games, 16-5, .762).
That's like saying Marvis Frazier had a chance because he laced up his gloves the same as Mike Tyson before their one-sided 1986 fight ended 30 seconds into the first round.
And still, a game Cleveland won by 13 felt like a blowout. It's easy to say now, but this game would've been closer had the Celtics not missed 26 threes (12-of-38). Stevens was left searching for answers in real time, extending the rotation to 10 players by midway through the second quarter. After 10 days off, I didn't feel that great, but I know I'll feel a lot better going into Game 2. Davis barely held off Gobert for the first-team center spot, finishing with 343 points to Gobert's 339.
The Celtics hope to get more contributions overall as they seek to tie up the series before it shifts back to the North Coast. The reason it's scary is because Korver (1 of 6 field goals, all 3-pointers) is not going to have the shooting night that he had tonight very often. Bautista homered in the 8th inning last night, stood at the plate, tried to make eye contact with the pitcher, and then flipped his bat high in the air like he'd just hit a walk off to win the game.
Asked if the Celtics had a bit of a letdown after an emotional seven-game series with the Washington Wizards, Thomassaid, "I don't think so".
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Editor's note: SportsDay's Eddie Sefko recently wrote a series of columns chronicling the Mavericks' NBA draft lottery picks. Game tomorrow against a tough Cleveland team. "We're excited about the pick".
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