Celtics take Game 1 of East finals, beating Cavaliers 108-83

Celtics take Game 1 of East finals, beating Cavaliers 108-83

Just ask the Indiana Pacers.

"I didn't go to college, so it's not March Madness", he said. "He's always done it". The Cavs had two players score at least 11 points.

Following Monday's practice session in Boston, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, commented on what they expect from James in Game 2. He was not available to the media, leaving it to others to speak for LeBron's no-thank-you-just-looking 15-point effort in Game 1.

"It was that point of the game where we needed to make plays", Horford said. "We weighed it before the series started, but we'd won seven out of eight and we weren't going to adjust until someone beat us and we didn't play well with that lineup and that got us to this point".

"That's the great challenge of having to play against a team like this and a player like him".

Talented 20-something players Tatum, Rozier and Brown have filled the void left by injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, combining with Horford - who has been eliminated by James 4 times in the playoffs - to become a formidable force that outhustled the more experienced Cavaliers and dominated defensively.

Playing James below the foul-line is sure to get him easier attempts and invite the type of defensive reactions (help, double-teams) that result in open results for his teammates. "We did a good job of that and we just have to keep it up". "The younger guys to the older guys, we think we can compete and play with anybody".

On Sunday, however, Horford flipped the script and outplayed Love in a major way. And with guys like George Hill, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver frequently on the court, the Celtics won't face much resistance defensively.

The Cavs won't shoot that poorly and the Celtics probably won't shoot so well (51.2 percent in Game 1) but that will only close the gap a little bit.

Thompson said he brings toughness and energy off the bench, but he's ready if called upon to set the tone as a starter. He was disappointing in the earlier rounds because they lost his offense, but the Celtics can not be sacrificing that while trying to account for James.

Al Horford has tasted playoff and postseason success before.

And so, it was not just a man-to-man guarding, a double-teaming or a triple-teaming defense but, seemingly, all five greenshirts on the parquet floor were swarming all over James. Meanwhile, James also faced his largest first-quarter deficit in a conference final. You don't win a series in one game. "At the same time, we can't rely on that".

If it's a heavyweight Cavs and LeBron James that show up on Tuesday, it will starkly contrast the lightweight team that failed to show up for Game 1.

While almost everything went Boston's way in the second half thanks to their hustle and grit, Cleveland struggled mightily, scoring just 39 points in the final 24 minutes.

"I think we're very alert to the fact that we'll get a heavyweight punch on Tuesday night", Stevens said. "They're gooning the game up and we've got to do the same thing".



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