Celtics draw first blood against LeBron's Cavs in Conference finals
The Cleveland Cavaliers looked sluggish on Sunday, while the Boston Celtics jumped on the opportunity to take an early series lead.
The Boston Celtics claimed game one of the Eastern Conference finals with a 108-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Boston made a hot start, outscoring Cleveland 36-18 in the first quarter, and never looked back as the Celtics drew first blood in the NBA playoffs on Sunday.
The Celtics led the Cavaliers 61-35 at half-time, marking the largest ever deficit by a LeBron James team in a playoff game.
BROWN HAS EMERGED
When the Celtics selected Jaylen Brown third overall in the 2016 NBA Draft many wondered how long it would take for him to make an impact. Known as an intelligent player with a high motor, Brown struggled to shoot and score at California.
But that has not stopped the second-year professional from quickly becoming one of the brightest young stars in the league. Brown continued his dominant postseason by scoring 23 points with eight rebounds on Sunday. He has also become an athletic, lock-down defender. It is only a matter of time before he becomes a house-hold name.
CAVALIERS WERE LEFT ON AUTOPILOT
Someone should have reminded Cleveland that their sweep of the Toronto Raptors was not the end of the road this postseason. After a long layoff, the Cavaliers looked to be sleepwalking while shooting just 36.5 per cent from the field and 15.4 per cent from three-point range.
The Cavaliers fell behind by 18 after the first quarter, and trailed by around 20 most of the game. James finished with 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and Kevin Love added 17 points, but someone needs to wake this team up if they are going to reach their fourth straight NBA Finals.
DEFENSE, TEAM OFFENSE STILL A THING
The Celtics were among the NBA leaders in team defense all season. Head coach Brad Stevens was a defensive savant while raising Butler's basketball program to a new level. Defense can sometimes be a bit tame in the NBA these days, but Boston continued to prove it has a place in the league.
The Celtics also run a lot of offensive sets. Sure, they still use isolation offense, usually with Terry Rozier, but overall their ball movement creates spacing. Boston had four players score at least 16 points. Despite a number of key injuries, this well-oiled machine keeps plugging along.