Kyrie Irving Shoots Down Celtics As Cavaliers Cruise 113-100 In Game 1


Apr 19, 2015

There were no surprises Sunday in Cleveland.

The Boston Celtics kept it close for a quarter and a half in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but LeBron James & Co. quickly overpowered their visitors, leading by as many as 20 points en route to a 113-100 win at Quicken Loans Arena.

Isaiah Thomas finished with 22 points, 10 assists and five rebounds — his first double-double in a Celtics uniform — in a losing effort.

The Celtics opened the game with one of their best quarters of the season. Tyler Zeller scored six of Boston’s first eight points to get things started against his former team, and the Celtics shot 57.1 percent from the floor to take a 31-27 lead at the end of one.

The star of the frame was Kelly Olynyk, who showcased the kind of aggressiveness the C’s have been urging him to unleash all season. Playing on his 24th birthday, the second-year big man scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting in his first seven minutes of action, but he did pick up three first-half fouls, forcing him to the bench for much of the second quarter.

Thomas came as advertised for the Celtics in the first half. The point guard did an excellent job of getting to the rim in the early going, resulting in a couple of strong, contested layups and six trips to the foul line, from which he went 6-for-6.

Thomas also recorded five assists and three rebounds through the first two quarters, and he and Olynyk were the only Celtics players with a positive plus/minus ratings over that span (plus-1 and plus-4, respectively).

Nerves were not an issue whatsoever for Kyrie Irving in the Cleveland point guard’s first career playoff game. Irving poured in 20 points in the first half, hitting eight of his 12 shots and three of his first four 3-point attempts, including an off-balance three over Evan Turner at the halftime buzzer.

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Irving finished with a game-high 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including 5-of-9 from deep.

The Cavs annihilated the Celtics on the offensive glass in the first half, owning a 10-1 advantage in offensive rebounds. Reserve big Tristan Thompson had four of those, and this disparity helped Cleveland outscore Boston 35-23 in the second quarter to take a 62-54 lead at the break.

Cleveland stretched that lead to 20 late in the third, but the C’s did not pack it in. After subbing in Zeller, Marcus Smart and Jonas Jerebko, the Celtics reeled off a 14-0 run to cut the deficit down to six. The Cavs quickly responded with a 9-0 run of their own, however, capped off by a James Jones three that made it 91-76 entering the fourth.

Thomas turned the ball over three times in the final 59 seconds of the third.

Neither Turner nor Avery Bradley made much of an impact for the Celtics, as the two guards combined for just 19 points on 7-of-22 shooting.

For the Cavs, big man Kevin Love started slow and didn’t shoot the ball particularly well all afternoon (5-for-14), but he seemed to dial it in as Cleveland extended its lead. Love finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in his playoff debut.

LeBron James, meanwhile, came through with an under-the-radar 20 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals in the win.

Game 2 is set for Tuesday night in Cleveland.

Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images

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