LeBron James, Cavaliers too much for Celtics in Boston

Doug Mendoza
May 19, 2017

A loss Friday would also leave Boston with the daunting proposition of having to win four out of five games to take the series - a almost impossible task against a team that since James returned to Cleveland in 2014-15 has a 33-4 playoff record against Eastern Conference foes. Love opened up the floor for James, burying outside jumpers and forcing Boston to leave defenders one-on-one with James.Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder led the Celtics with 21 points each. Olynyk scored two points in the final minute and had three rebounds Wednesday.

"I'm very confident (about Game 2)", Thomas said after a Celtics film session Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers say that they weren't too happy with their performance in Game 1, but they dominated in the first half to remain undefeated in these playoffs. Tristan Thompson had 20 points (shooting 7-for-7 from the floor) and nine rebounds, and Kyrie Irving contributed 11 points and six assists. He continued his dynamic playoff run with 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a wire-to-wire victory. He dropped all 11 in the fourth quarter but got hot quickly, and his shot from three is something the Celtics could use desperately. Combined viewership for playoff games across the league's network partners - ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV - is up 3 per cent over last year's pace, averaging 3.7 million.

Closing In: LeBron James started the series with 5,847 points to trail Michael Jordan by 140 points on the NBA's all-time playoff scoring list entering the Eastern Conference Finals.

For as much as the game was a dominant wire-to-wire victory for the Cavs, the Celtics may have built some positive momentum heading into Game 2 and most importantly didn't lay down after trailing by as many as 28 points. Love only played 25 minutes in a Game 4 loss, scored just two points in Cleveland's Game 5 win, and played 12 minutes in the team's Game 6 win.

The Cavaliers now take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Golden State is off to a 10-0 start in the Western Conference, the Warriors two games from their third consecutive NBA Finals and a possible third consecutive meeting with the Cavaliers there. Thomas was terrible in the opener, going 7-for-19 with 17 points and four turnovers.

"We can't panic. It's only one game". "This is the predicament they put you in".

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But this time is different for the Celtics as they're riding on a high note after conquering the Wizards in Game 7 of their semi-final duel.

With 9:47 left in the game, Thomas bumped James while he was headed to the rim for a layup.

With games every other day, that's not going to get any better, either.

Celtics leader Isaiah Thomas had issues getting free, but when he did get clean looks he often didn't convert. Thompson was grab boards on both the defensive and offensive glass to help the Cavs break out to a huge lead. A guy who has played 10 years without making a conference finals is more likely to be overwrought with nerves and tension than a rookie going on instinct. After burying Boston in a first-half hole that tied a franchise record for the largest halftime playoff deficit at home, Cleveland was ready to chill.

In Wednesday's victory, Tristan Thompson finished a postseason career-best 20 points on a flawless 7-7 shooting from the field, nine rebounds (six offensive) and two steals in 34 minutes.

Kelly Olynyk, the hero of Game 7 against Washington with 26 points, was held scoreless in the opener against Cleveland until Boston's last shot of the game.

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