Prior to game to game one Lebron James was 1-10 in game one when playing on the road. Tonight he would make it 2-10 with a 117-104 win over the Boston Celtics.
It was a strong start from Cleveland as they jumped out to 30-19 lead after the first quarter. The Celtics would not lead the entire game as the Cavs led by as much as 28 points in game one. After nine days of rest for Cleveland, the Celtics felt the fatigue early as their previous series just ended three days ago.
Lebron James led the way with 38 points (14-of-24), nine rebounds and seven assists as the King muscled his way through any Boston defender. The Celtics attempted to defend James with Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Gerald Green but were out of luck. Kevin Love made his return to Boston in the playoffs for the first time since he was injured by Olynyk in the 2015 playoffs. When Love was on the floor with the second unit the Cavaliers played through their All-Star big man. This was an adjustment that Tyronn Lue advised he would make to give Love a chance for a strong start. Love finished with 32 points as he shot 6-of-9 from the three-point line.
The Cavaliers received a boost from Tristian Thompson who scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win. His six offensive rebounds gave the Cavs second chances at scoring in which the Celtics certainly should avoid in this series.
The Celtics struggled to score the ball in the first-half and finished shooting 31-percent from the three-point line. They were led by Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley who both scored 21 points a piece. Isaiah Thomas would finish with 17 points (7-of-19 from the field) and 10 assists. The Cavaliers started off the game showing a double-team on the 5’9 guard. Thomas would struggle to find a consistent rhythm as the Cavaliers defense showed their length against the smaller guard.
The Celtics will have to contain the Cavaliers and perhaps play a game of “pick your poison” when defending Lebron James. No matter which defender the Celtics placed in front of James he was able to score or create an opportunity for his teammates. For Boston this may not be great news if James says, “I don’t even think we played that great tonight”.
Game two is in Boston on Friday night. Tip-off is at 8:30 PM EST on TNT.