LeBron James: I'm just trying to make plays for Cleveland Cavaliers
- Author: Julie Sanders May 19, 2017,
May 19, 2017, 18:54
The final score, a mere 13-point victory for the Cavaliers isn't actually representative of how lopsided this matchup was in nearly every facet of the game, as Cleveland beat the living spirit out of Boston to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
And should the Celtics choose to hold onto the pick and draft, let's say, Washington's Markelle Fultz in the June 22 draft, Stevens loves the idea of developing yet another young talent on a team that has gone deeper in the playoffs each year. He had the same job two years ago when the Cavaliers swept the Celtics out of the playoffs in the first round on their way to the NBA Finals. The Celtics fought their way into the Eastern Conference Finals largely based on their ability to make the Bulls and Wizards pay with the 3-ball. He's great at recognizing when (Kyrie) Irving or bringing a screener up that they want to bring up. The 90 combined points by the trio were the 3rd most combined points scored in a playoff game by three Cavs players. They set the tone in every way you could imagine - physically, mentally, emotionally, it didn't matter.
But here's the rub for top-seeded Boston on Friday night: James said he wasn't even playing at peak condition after Cleveland's 10-day layoff between rounds. LeBron James was spectacular yet again, tallying 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 42 minutes while shooting 14-of-24 from the field and an impressive 9-of-11 from the foul line.
But on Thursday Lue said "it wasn't as bad as I thought it was once I looked at it on tape, in live motion".
The Celtics needed a burst of the bench after the first seven minutes, but they got nothing.
Although the Cavaliers have amped up their defense to fifth best, they were still 21st out of 30 in the regular season. There's a showdown with the Warriors coming, and figuring out how to unleash Love on offense is one step toward a successful defense of their championship in the Finals. They opened 10-0 last season en route to their first National Basketball Association title. Granted, some of those games also came in the Finals, against an excellent Golden State team, but the difference in efficiency is eye-popping, nonetheless.
Games 3 and 4 are in Cleveland Sunday and Tuesday.
Most of the damage in Game 1 was done by two players - James and Love. That being said, Boston made things too easy for him in Game 1. Anything less and they're going fishing for sure.
The Cavs dominated the Boston Celtics last night, beating them 117-104 in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
James scored at will in the first half and the Cavs built a 26-point lead.
Stevens said the Cavaliers rebound well offensively because opponents have to defend everybody.
He proved to be more than just a defense/offensive rebounder.
If the Celtics do not start hitting at least their open shots, the Cavaliers will continue to walk all over them.
Kevin Love, who hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter, scored a career playoff-high 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, becoming the first Cav other than James to amass 30 points and 10 rebounds in a playoff game since Brad Daugherty in 1992.
However, the Cavs were able to extend the lead right back to 20 points as Kyle Korver opened the fourth with a trey for 95-75 lead and the Celtics were only able to make the final closer in the final moments.