Celtics Notes: No Moral Victories For C’s After Hard-Fought Game 2 Loss

A 14-point, five-rebound performance didn’t do much to lift Jared Sullinger’s spirits Tuesday night.

Sullinger’s showing came in a hard-fought but ultimately fruitless effort for the Boston Celtics, who lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-91 in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. Cleveland now owns a two-games-to-zero lead as the series shifts to Boston.

“We don’t like to do moral victories around here,” Sullinger said after the game, reiterating a refrain popular among Celtics players and coaches this season. “We want to win.”

A win will be necessary for the C’s on Thursday if they hope to avoid falling into a 3-0 series hole.

Some additional notes from Game 2:

— Coach Brad Stevens canceled the Celtics’ previously scheduled morning shootaround Tuesday, citing a desire for freshness over extra prep.

“I didn’t feel like we needed the shootaround,” he told reporters before the game. “I’m big on fresh legs, clear mind. We’ve got a job to do, and it’s a simple game that I don’t want to make overly difficult.”

— Kyrie Irving nearly matched his stellar Game 1 performance for the Cavs, racking up 26 points, six assists and five rebounds in Game 2. Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas said in order to ensure Irving does not go off again Thursday night, Boston will have to limit his 1-on-1 opportunities.

“Shrink the floor,” Thomas said. “Show bodies. Make sure he sees all five guys, not just 1-on-1. He’s one of the best 1-on-1 guys in the NBA, so we’ve got to make sure he sees all of us. And then, just make it tough on him. Like I said last game, he hit some tough shots. That’s what he does. But we’ve definitely got to make it a little tougher on him to slow him down.”

— LeBron James poured in 15 points in the fourth quarter alone to finish with a game-high 30, pushing him past Jerry West and into seventh place on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list.

Turnovers again were an issue for James, though. He coughed the ball up six times Tuesday to give him 11 for the series — the most of any player on either side.

“I’ve just got to be more conscious about certain passes, certain plays that I’m making,” James said. “That’s 11 (turnovers) for me in the two games — 5 1/2 per game — and that’s not going to cut it. You can make a couple more mistakes at home than you can on the road, so I’ve got to be better with the ball in order for us to be successful.”

— Speaking of LeBron, he and Sullinger both made some interesting choices in the postgame fashion department.

That was not Sullinger’s worst look of the night, though.

— Thomas, a good friend of boxer Floyd Mayweather’s, believes that Mayweather will prevail in his upcoming bout with Manny Pacquiao.

“The way Floyd’s training right now, I think he’s going to try to knock Pacquiao out,” Thomas said Monday, via Cleveland.com. “In the videos he’s sent me, I’ve never seen him hit so hard during training. Floyd’s going to knock him out because there’s a lot at stake and you never know how they’re going to judge the fight.”

Thomas has previously said he plans on attending the May 2 fight in Las Vegas. That would only become a problem if this series goes the distance, as Game 7 also would be scheduled for May 2.

— Your photo of the night, starring Brad Stevens as Kevin McCallister:

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens

Photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images

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