The Cavaliers are now starring at an 0-2 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James came out extremely aggressive. It was expected of him. He scored 21 points in the first quarter; the most he has scored in an opening quarter in the 2018 playoffs. James set the tone for the Cavs to jump out into an early lead in the first half. The three time NBA Champion was hitting from all cylinders, including that Kobe-like fadeaway he has shown throughout the playoffs. He hit four three pointers in the first half.
The Celtics’ momentum and crowd helped them to weather the storm despite LeBron James’s dominance. They had a response to each and every blow given by LeBron James. Boston came out in the 2nd half with the swagger they have played with all season. It was led by “Scary” Terry Rozier. Rozier’s first half included 2 points and one field goal. He decided to change his sneakers and lit up the scoreboard with 17 points in the 3rd quarter. It all started with defense. The Cavs shot 9 for 22 in the third quarter The Celtics ran away with the game after Rozier’s spark.
“We’re going to fight,” said Rozier.”
“At this point we don’t care if we win by half a point. If we win, that’s all that matters.”
They carried their momentum into the 4th quarter and did not relinquish the lead. Big contributions came from a number of players. The entire Celtics starting 5 scored in double figures, with Jaylen Brown leading the way with 23 points. With less than 4 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, JR Smith was called for a flagrant foul after pushing Al Horford in the air. The action resulted in Marcus Smart getting in Smith’s face. It was perceived as a dirty play, but Smith denied any malevolent intent. Smart was simply sticking up for his teammate.
“We have each other’s backs,” said Horford. “We moved on to the next play and we locked in after that.”
They most certainly did. Horford responded with a 3 point player on the following possession to extend that 8 point lead and the Celtics would ultimately win by 13 points.
Boston took care of business at home. As the series shifts to Cleveland for the next two games, the Cavs have no choice but to do the same.
Look out for Game 3 on Saturday (May 19).