BOSTON — After a dominant victory to open the Eastern Conference finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers followed suit in Game 2 with a 130-86 rout of the Boston Celtics on Friday night at TD Garden.
LeBron James overpowered Boston for the second consecutive game. The star forward posted a game-high with 30 points to go along with seven assists and four rebounds, while Kyrie Irving rebounded from a quiet Game 1 with 29 points. Kevin Love also shined for Cleveland, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
The Celtics were flat-out dreadful throughout the game. Boston couldn’t get anything going on offense, as the home team simply was overmatched by the defending NBA champions. And to make matters worse for Boston, Isaiah Thomas missed the entire second half of the game due to injury.
With the loss, the Celtics fall to an 0-2 deficit in the series.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Gerald Green
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Al Horford
The Cavaliers benefited from a strong start in Game 1, and the story was no different in Game 2. Thanks to nightmarish shooting from the Celtics in the opening 12 minutes, Cleveland jumped out to a 32-18 lead after the first quarter.
After a relatively quiet Game 1, Irving made his presence known early, as he led all scorers with nine first-quarter points. Love (eight points, five rebounds) and James (five points, five assists) also stuffed the stat sheet for Cleveland in the opening frame.
Boston was flat-out horrible from the field to open the game, converting on only six of its 21 shot attempts. Green was the only positive takeaway for the Celtics in the first quarter, as the veteran forward went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.
The Celtics had an abysmal first quarter, but somehow they managed to make the second frame even worse. The Cavs outscored the C’s 40-13 in the second quarter and held a commanding 72-31 lead heading into the break. Boston’s 41-point halftime deficit was the largest in NBA postseason history.
Cleveland’s red-hot offense continued in the second frame, as it hit 58 percent of its shots from the field. James took control of the game, connecting on seven of 10 shots from the field and posting 17 points in the second quarter to boost his first-half total to 22. Love’s 10 second-quarter points bumped him up to 18 in the game.
Boston played arguably its worst half of the season. The C’s nearly had as many turnovers (10) as shots made (11) through the first two quarters. The Celtics failed to have a scorer in double digits in the first half, as Bradley led the team with nine points going into the break.
INSULT TO INJURY
It didn’t seem as though it could get any worse for Boston heading into the second half, but sure enough, it did. Thomas did not return from the locker room after break, as he was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a hip strain injury.
As for the game itself, the Cavs kept their foot on the gas despite a commanding lead. James and the rest of Cleveland’s starters played the majority of the third frame, eradicating any chance of the Celtics mounting a serious comeback.
BLOW OUT: PART 2
With Cleveland’s victory all but locked up, both sides elected to sit their starters for the entire fourth quarter. The Cavs’ reserves had no problem controlling the Celtics, as Cleveland simply washed away the clock en route to an easy victory.
For the second consecutive game, Boston was embarrassed on its home court by the Cavaliers. The C’s don’t appear to have an answer for James, who seemingly has his way on offense on every Cavaliers possession. Though the Celtics bounced back from an 0-2 deficit in the opening round, Cleveland is an entirely different animal. It’s hard to imagine James and Co. will let the series return to Boston.
PLAY OF THE GAME
We’ve seen this before from James.
The series now shifts to Cleveland for Game 3 on Sunday night. Tip-off from Quicken Loans Arena is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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