Thompson said the Cavs weren't able to "clean up the boo-boo on our lips" after the Celtics' initial run in Game 1.
The Celtics crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers in Sunday's NBA Eastern Conference opener 108-83 and can take a 2-0 lead with a win in game two in Boston. Feeding off the building momentum, Brown's hustle prevented Thompson from chasing down an offensive rebound, and Terry Rozier broke out the other way before throwing down an emphatic tomahawk jam before James could close on a potential chasedown.
The only thing that seemed to roar louder than the TD Garden crowd was Marcus Morris. The Celtics have never blown a 2-0 series lead in the playoffs.
But this isn't just LeBron playing puppet master and Lue going wherever the strings lead him; there is some logic behind the decision. "At this point we don't care if we win by half a point". As of today, the Kid from Akron has scored 994 points against the Celtics in 35 games. His 42 points marked his fifth 40-point game of this postseason. Comments section Q&A After the Cavaliers were routed in Game 1, there were doubts about whether Cleveland could hang with the Celtics. "I didn't go to college, so it's not March Madness". "You go out and when you lay everything on the line, at the end of the day, you can live with that", he said.
They were a team that tinkered with rotations and lineup combinations, a strategy spurred on by owner Dan Gilbert's text to Lue, giving him the green light to fail in the short term for the betterment of the team this time of year.
The Cavaliers are tipped to promote veteran big man Tristan Thompson to their starting line-up, after Baynes, Al Horford and Marcus Morris physically dominated in Game One. The Celtics defense deserves loads of credit for keeping him to 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting, and 0-for-5 from downtown, even if some are questioning his effort during the loss.
Horford then drove for a 101-89 lead with 3:38 to play and scored another basket for a 14-point lead. Smith was given a flagrant foul on video review - with Smart and Smith each getting technical fouls - as Horford hit a pair of free throws. "We didn't play well". But Stevens knows better.
Smith said there was no malicious intent on the play. "Obviously, when I check in the game I try to bring that toughness and that energy". James' elbow jumper with just under five minutes remaining closed the gap to six. According to NBA.com's stats page, the Cavs were just 3-for-16 on their "wide-open" threes, defined as shots taken with no defender within six feet. Cleveland shot poorly from outside in Game 1, and in Game 2, started hot from downtown, connecting on seven of its first 14 threes.
Connecting from deep is how Cleveland opens up James' and Love's ability to post up. The Cavs acquired Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and that 2018 first-round pick. The major move for Boston, though, was shipping out Pierce and Garnett as part of one of the most impactful trades in National Basketball Association history. He's probably ready to explode after that lackluster showing, especially since he remembers just about every play thanks to his awe-inspiring postgame recollection (besides one of his team-high seven turnovers, which he conveniently left out of his play-by-play with reporters). Cleveland has also benefited from Kyle Korver shifting to the bench, where he has 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting, including knocking down both of his threes. James was diagnosed with a strained neck. He returned after missing less than two minutes of game time. Whatever they lack in experience, this group compensates for with a toughness, fearlessness and togetherness that's breathtaking.
As has been the case for most of the playoffs, the Celtics relied on multiple players in a variety of situations to put up their points on the board. We've got to clean those up. I think they're playing tougher than we are.
"We need tremendous focus". That's a blatant, dirty cheap shot from a player who can no longer be given the benefit of the doubt.
"You can't have those lulls", said Stevens. "Our job was just to keep going". "And that's what I tried to do".
Cleveland and Boston are set to tip off at 8:30 p.m. E.T. The game will be televised on ESPN.
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