Celtics' Brad Stevens expects swift counterpunch from LeBron James

16 May, 2018, 11:34 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Cleveland Cavaliers forward Le Bron James

Not even a James triple-double (with 12 assists and 10 rebounds to go with his fifth 40-plus point game of the postseason) could save the Cavaliers from the Celtics on Tuesday. In the end, there was just too much Celtic firepower: Jaylen Brown sank three 3s and had 23 points. James had just 15 points and missed all 5 of his three-point attempts in a Game 1 defeat.

"Stay off Boston. Watch out for that Game 2", said Golden State coach Steve Kerr the same day, joking about overreacting to a first-game rout amid the proliferation of sports gambling expected after the Supreme Court legalized it in all states. "We go out there, we compete".

The Celtics really could have used this version of Morris throughout the playoffs, but they dealt with it earlier.

In general, Cleveland's role players have been a mess. Yes, LeBron James had an uncharacteristically bad game in Game 1, but for Cleveland to win this series it needs Love to be the player he was against Toronto, when he scored over 20 points the final three games, instead of the one he was against in, when he had multiple single-digit games.

LeBron James' bounce-back game - The King will be smarting from the discouraging showing he put up in Game 1. "We're going to use these days to really dive in on what needs to be done to help our ballclub be successful". Led by the tenacious hustle of Marcus Smart and resilient energy of Terry Rozier, the Celtics blew by Cleveland to eventually take a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. It was the kind of moment that indicated James knew the gravity of the situation and the need for Cleveland to even this series in Game 2. Smith shoved Morris and the pair had to be separated. He and Smart both got hit with a technical for their beef after the play.

Horford's jump shot with 2:54 remaining pushed the Celtics' advantage to 103-89.

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LeBron James just didn't have it either. Cleveland waved the white flag and emptied its bench after that.

Boston flurried just before the half, getting six points from Morris in the final minute to trim Cleveland's lead to 55-48 at the break.

The Cavaliers said James had a neck sprain.

LeBron came out hot in Game 2, scoring 21 in the first quarter and 25 for the half.

Thompson is going to be on Horford, and he'll likely collect some rebounds as a result, but I think you should be far less concerned with that element so long as your defense on James is what it was on Sunday. After the Tatum play, he shot 7-for-14 the rest of the way with six more rebounds and eight more assists. Marcus Morris and Tristan Thompson had to be separated and earned matching T's when they tumbled over the baseline, Morris woofing directly in Thompson's face.

Griffin served as Cleveland's general manager until last June, when he was unable to come to a new contract agreement with team owner Dan Gilbert.



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