LeBron, Love help Cavs rout Celtics 117-104 in Game 1

Sandy Mccarthy
May 19, 2017

Thanks to an offensive onslaught led by LeBron James, the Cavaliers cruised to a 117-104 victory Wednesday night at TD Garden.

As accusations of dirty play continue to swirl around the Celtics, Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith told reporters his team should be ready for "dirty plays" and "cheap shots" from Boston in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

James went 7-of-7 from the paint in the first quarter alone, and the Celtics' dreams of catching the Cavs with rust were dashed when they went 0-of-8 on open 3-point shots in the first half.

The Celtics opened with a plan to switch defenders off screens to prevent James from turning the corner on drives.

Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder both scored 21 points for the Celtics, who returned to court just 48 hours after their win over the Wizards.

Although the Celtics responded with five straight points out of a timeout in the second quarter, the Cavaliers went back to work and put together a 12-0 run over the next three-plus minutes. He got comfortable with what we were doing on the defensive end, and he had his way.

Lue, a former Celtics assistant, said of Thompson, "He's our energy, he's our motor". "Because they're fighting for their lives at this point". Boston hit just 10 freebies on the night, giving them a disappointing 55.6% free throw percentage on the evening.

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The bottom line is this, the Magic braintrust - for the first time in forever - absolutely must be smarter than everybody else. There aren't many shots he won't take - and make. "Me and Isaiah Thomas would be a great backcourt", said Fultz.

"We've just got to be more in tune as a group", Thomas said.

James, looking to advance to his seventh consecutive NBA Finals (the most since Bill Russell in the 1960s) grabbed nine rebounds and seven assists while posting his seventh consecutive 30-point game.

"Hey, Kev, you've got to see this", James called out across the locker room to Love, who was sitting with his knees immersed in ice. While Marcus Smart was a steady performer in the second half, particularly on defense, it was not enough to change the course of the game.

In short, James has been playing big games in Boston for a long time.

Not only were the C's just 12-for-38 (31.6%) from three-point range, they also finished 3-of-13 on uncontested threes. They have already steamrolled their way into the Eastern Conference finals by beating the Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors, and they did this without dropping a single game. I just said in the coaches' meeting right before we left: It's hard to believe, but he's better than when I got into the league. "(It) was one of those instances where every time he got the ball, it was a small guarding him or somebody was in the post, he was aggressive. He added nine rebounds and seven assists. The numbers are not disappointing, and the Cavs swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs, but before the start of the conference finals, head coach Tyronn Lue talked about featuring Love in the offense more against Boston. Boston can't afford to let this happen in Game 2 (and beyond).

At the same time, the Celtics have to stay in close touch with the Cavs' other shooters - specifically Kevin Love. "We missed some makeable opportunities".

Other reports by BadHub

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