We need them to be physical and set a tone early.
Love recalled how James played in Game 2 of the first round - scoring the Cavs' first 16 points straight en route to 46 as Cleveland tied its series with Indiana.
Most teams do fall apart when James goes off like that at the beginning of a game, but Boston didn't lose its cool. I thought Semi [Ojeleye] did a good job on the couple of possessions he guarded him, which is really hard to just come off the bench not in the flow of the game and put a body in front of him.
James wasted a 42-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound game for the Cavaliers, including a 21-point first quarter.
In this Celtics/Cavs series, it's Boston that has the youth and athleticism.and a 2-0 series lead.
The Celtics outscored the visitors 60-38 in the paint and Cleveland finished 4-for-26 from 3-point range.
OK, this isn't meant to scare Celtics fans, but consider the success rate of teams with a 2-0 lead in the conference finals. Of course. Will they probably have a tough time against the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors in the Finals? Thompson had seven rebounds and eight points while Horford scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, proving that the matchup was not as close as hoped. Kevin Love added 22 points and 15 rebounds, but only Kyle Korver scored in double figures for the Cavaliers. Just about everyone did when he led the Cavs to a stunning National Basketball Association title two years ago against the Golden State Warriors.
The physicality matched the decibel level in TD Garden, with high-pitched screams befitting the importance of the game. Smart, who rushed to the aid of his teammate, earned a technical along with Smith for some pushing after the play.
That was just a slice of the game's brutality.
It was revealed that the 33-year-old had only suffered a neck strain and he returned to the floor with 1:57 left before half-time. That would be Terry Rozier. Cleveland took a seven-point lead into halftime but Boston flipped the script and turned it into a seven-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
Tyronn Lue learned his lesson from Game 1, and he went with a 2-big lineup to start this game. James caught Jayson Tatum on a switch and took him to the hoop with relative ease.
All season long Boston has been spectacular on defense, limiting offensive rebounds, lowering field goal percentages, and in particular, three-point field goal percentage, something Cleveland heavily relies on, especially when playing from behind.