BOSTON — The Celtics were no match for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
The Cavs overpowered the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals en route to a 117-104 blowout victory.
LeBron James was his usual self in Game 1, posting 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Love was red-hot on offense for Cleveland, scoring 32 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Tristan Thompson also was strong for the Cavaliers, scoring 20 points and pulling down nine rebounds.
The Celtics simply couldn’t get it going on offense at any point in the contest. Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder paced Boston with 21 points each, while Isaiah Thomas wasn’t far behind with 17 points and 10 assists.
With the loss, the Celtics fall to an 0-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Al Horford
Many believed the Cavaliers might come out slow after not playing for 10 days, but that certainly wasn’t the case. Cleveland looked energized and refreshed to start the game, and held a 30-19 lead after the opening 12 minutes.
James scored at ease in the first frame. The star forward led all scorers with 15 first-quarter points to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Thompson also stuffed the stat sheet to start the game, scoring six points and pulling down five rebounds in the first quarter.
Boston was plagued by lackluster 3-point shooting early on, only converting on 1 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc. Bradley paced the Celtics with nine first-quarter points.
CAVS PILE ON
The Cavaliers continued to overpower the lifeless Celtics and held a 61-39 lead at the break. James added eight more points to boost his first-half total to 23, but it was Love who provided the monster second quarter. After scoring just two points in the opening frame, Love scored 11 in the second to go along with five rebounds.
Boston struggled mightily from the field through two quarters, converting only on 35 percent of its shot attempts. Bradley posted the first-half high for the C’s with 11 points and was the only Celtic to score in double figures. Rebounding continued to be an issue for Boston, as Cleveland held a commanding 28-14 advantage on the glass.
LABOR OF LOVE
Love’s second quarter was impressive, but his performance in the third frame was flat-out ridiculous. The Cavs forward torched the Celtics with 18 points in the quarter, 15 of which were from beyond the arc. He scored more than half of Cleveland’s points in the third, and helped his team take a 92-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Celtics showed some fight after an atrocious first half. Marcus Smart’s intensity on the defensive end provided his team with a lift, as the pesky guard held his own against Thompson on the boards. Their battle on the glass led to a chest-to-chest confrontation, resulting in a separation and matching fouls.
And Thomas got in on the action, too.
The Cavaliers wouldn’t waver, though, as their offensive onslaught rolled on.
The Cavaliers showed no signs up of letting up in the fourth quarter, and cruised to the blowout victory. Cleveland simply was the more physical team in Game 1, which manifested itself on the scoreboard and on the glass. The Cavaliers dominated the Celtics in the paint, which led to a multitude of second-chance opportunities. The Celtics’ dismal shooting performance didn’t help their case, but Cleveland’s rout in Game 1 could be cause for concern for Boston in the remainder of the series.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Trapping James is no easy task.
The Celtics and Cavaliers will battle it out in Game 2 on Friday night. Tip-off from TD Garden is set for 8:30 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images