A 25-point thumping was hard to predict, but the Boston Celtics' success in their statement Game 1 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers shouldn't come entirely as a surprise.
They trailed 36-18 after the first quarter, were down by 26 at the half, and lost Game 1...
Jaylen Brown led all scoring with 23 points, and Al Horford added 20 points for Boston.
The Celtics are a small favorite in game 2, but they are not the team expected to win this series.
He finished the opening quarter 8 of 13 from the field and 4 of 7 from the 3-point line.
They extended their lead through the second quarter - and would go to halftime with an eight-point advantage - but the game turned after James was floored by Jayson Tatum, with the two colliding when attacking a loose ball, with Tatum's shoulder connecting with James' jaw. LeBron had a subpar game, tallying only 15 points, although he also had 9 assists and 7 rebounds.
But Game 2 is another story. "So, that's good, you know?" He also recorded seven turnovers to nine assists, and the Cavs were down by more than 20 points for much of the game.
Kevin Love has the ability to do much better than his 17 point, 8 rebound showing in Game 1, as he demonstrated in the last 3 games of the Semifinals against the Raptors.
Though he was only marginally better (21 points, seven turnovers, 6-for-24) on the second night in 2008, he was relatively young at the time.
"I mean, he nearly had a triple-double, so he was pretty darned good", the Celtics coach said of James' Sunday performance. Morris, however, is one of the few players in the league who actually matches up reasonably well against him, and being backed by arguably the best defense in the National Basketball Association makes it that little bit easier to do again.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics outshot the Cleveland Cavaliers all game long. "He's going to approach this game as one where he's going to have to lead and bounce back".
Given up for dead after losing Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to season-ending injuries, the Celtics continue to exceed expectations, resuscitating the season the same efficient way they recycle possessions. The Celtics didn't seem to mind the boastful claims and actually put him into the starting lineup for Game 1, in which the Celtics dominated the Cavs and Morris shut down LeBron everytime they lined up against each other.
In a playoffs filled with ups and downs for LeBron James & the Cleveland Cavaliers, they're probably at their lowest, following a beatdown at the hands of the Boston Celtics, and meme makers aren't feeling sorry for them.
Love said he thought the Cavs were a "little soft" in the first half in Game 1. "With Tristan, it's more traditional coverages, being in the paint a lot more, so they become a more traditional group", Horford told ESPN. "I think that Coach [Brad Stevens] kinda has to determine that", said Horford. "That's what part of the playoff series is about", James said. "As role players, we've got to play our role".
While he usually plays much better at home than on the road, Rozier was a bit of a no-show in Game 1.
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