Boston comes into this series as the higher seed but not the favorite. The Celtics wanted to shut up the doubters early in the series at home. However, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the game from the beginning and cruised to an 117-104 win to begin the series.
Cleveland Cavaliers 117 – Boston Celtics 104
Lebron James gave the Celtics fits to start out the game. The Cavaliers went up early because of his offensive performance and found themselves up 48-25 midway through the second quarter. He went back to a strategy that’s worked throughout his career which is taking the ball to the rim at will instead of settling for deep jumpers. The strength and craftiness of James near the rim made him unguardable in his career and continued tonight. Boston tried multiple defenders on him but not one was able to stop him. James finished the night with 38 points on 14-of-24 shooting with seven assists and nine rebounds. Not only did James play well, but so did his front court of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Both combined for 52 points and dominated the glass with 21 total rebounds. The balance of strong interior offense, as well as high-quality three-point shooting, has been the key to the Cavaliers all year long. If they continue playing their game at a high level than this series could be over quickly.
Nobody on the Celtics shot particularly well. Including their leading scorer Isiah Thomas who scored just 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting. He averaged 28.9 ppg this season which is a big reason why they finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley did come out to play as they both finished with 21 points. These two are some of the veterans on the team and will need to show plenty of leadership in this tough series. Besides these two starters, it was a tough night shooting for the home team. They combined to shoot just 46.6 percent from the field which is unlike them on their home floor.
Boston did not look like they were ready for the Cavaliers’ storm coming in town. The are still riding high off a game seven victory in their previous series. The team looked tired especially against a team that hasn’t played a game in ten days. Unfortunalty, the are recovering in home games that they need to win. Last series, Boston won every game at home but lost every game on the road. If they want a realistic chance to come out of this series alive, they’ll need to win the next game at home. Otherwise, they’ll be forced to come away with wins in Cleveland which has not been accomplished by any team this postseason. Not only that, but no team has beaten Cleveland at home either. The hole is getting deeper and deeper each game for Boston. Game two is coming Friday night in Boston.