BOSTON — Move over, Celtics — The Cleveland Cavaliers would like sole possession of the No. 1 seed back.
LeBron James and Co. flexed their muscles and dismantled the Celtics in a 114-91 win Wednesday night at TD Garden. As a result, Cleveland now is one game ahead of Boston in the race for the Eastern Conference’s top spot, and it also won the teams’ season series 3-1.
LeBron James downplayed the huge matchup ahead of time, but he was all business once the game started, scoring 36 points with 10 rebounds and six assists. Kevin Love, who missed the last game between the two teams, had a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds. All five Cavaliers starters scored in double digits. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 26 points.
With the win, Cleveland improved to 51-27, while Boston dropped to 50-28.
Here’s how it all went down.
Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Al Horford
KING OF THE FIRST?
The first quarter was pretty ugly for both teams, as the Cavaliers shot 26 percent, while the Celtics posted a 38 percent mark. Cleveland got off to a good start and led 11-4 after two Kyrie Irving free throws with 6:50 remaining in the frame. But Boston outscored Cleveland 16-8 the rest of the quarter to take a 20-19 lead after 12 minutes.
Thomas was a big reason why the C’s came back, as he scored 12 points in the opening frame. However, the Cavs held a sizable 19-11 advantage on the glass.
KING JAMES TAKES OVER
James began the second quarter with four points. He finished it with 19 points.
Twelve of those second-quarter points came during a 22-4 Cavaliers run through the first 6:03 of the frame. That stretch helped the Cavs score 38 in the second quarter and build a 57-42 lead at the half. Cleveland’s overall rebounding advantage grew to 33-19, and it also upped its shooting percentage to 44.2 percent.
CAVS RUN AWAY WITH WIN
The third quarter wasn’t much better for the C’s. Boston once again let up over 30 points in a quarter — 33, to be exact — and its deficit grew to 90-66 heading into the final frame.
And there was no comeback magic for the home team in the fourth quarter.
PLAY OF THE GAME
As you can read about here, James had a pretty big block — and celebration.
The Celtics will hit the road for two straight games away from TD Garden, beginning with a Thursday evening tilt with the Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images