LeBron, Cavs have reeling Celtics in must-win for Game 2

Virginia Carter
May 20, 2017

James and Love did just that Wednesday night, as they led Cleveland to a dominant Game 1 win despite an underwhelming performance from their point guard. They compiled a 26-point lead in the first half and expanding it to 28 in the third quarter before the Celtics cut it down to 17 at the end of the quarter.

If the Boston Celtics can't find a way to slow down LeBron - or at least make things hard for the Chosen One - the series will be over in 4 and they'll have plenty of free time to think about what to do with their number-one overall pick. He continued his dynamic playoff run with 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a wire-to-wire victory. They held him scoreless from long range for the first time this postseason, and just the sixth time all season, as he missed all three of his 3-point attempts.

The Celtics will start Gerald Green in place of Amir Johnson for Game 2 against the Cavaliers in an effort to go small.

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 with 30 points and 10 rebounds in a playoff game since Brad Daugherty in 1992.

"He's a special player", said Lue. While it's no guarantee, they appear in good position for another.

And if the Celtics don't play any better than they did in the first half of the opener, that could be it. They hit us first.

The win was the Cavs' 12th straight in the playoffs, dating back to the last three games of the finals past year.

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Some third-quarter unpleasantness erupted between Thompson and Boston's Marcus Smart, whose fiery play kept his team somewhat alive - his flying slam on a rebound with 2.8 seconds left in the third igniting the crowd. He was just seven of 19 from the floor, two of seven from beyond the arc. The pair were whistled for double fouls on one occasion and came together on other occasions.

Cleveland made its way to the conference finals via sweeps of the Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors, while top-seeded Golden State cruised by the Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz.

Green did not play in the final two games against Washington, but he logged 13 minutes in Wednesday's Game 1 against Cleveland, when Boston showed some of its best energy of the night. "If we can manage it and be solid in that regard and make it as tough as possible and not turn it over on the other end and get good shots and knock them down, then that's your way of managing it". Boston C Al Horford on the Celtics getting the top pick in the lottery: "That's big for our franchise".

It's true. The Celtics, a team that was expected to crack 50 wins, were never given the benefit of the doubt beyond the first round of the playoffs, but it's time to face the music. Former Red Sox DH David Ortiz was seated next to the Celtics' bench.

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