LeBron James scored only seven points in the first half. (AP Photo / Michael Dwyer)
The Cavaliers and Celtics open their Eastern Conference finals series in Boston on Sunday. We will do a live analysis. Here you will find all the information you need.
Kyle Korver beat Cleveland's first three-pointer three minutes into the third quarter.
Bold strategy by the cavaliers.
The cavaliers have lived through their insult all season long. But if their shots do not fall, the Cavaliers look like a lottery team.
That's what happened in Game 1 so far.
Cleveland scored 15 for 47 in the first half. It went 0 for 12 out of three. Only one player scored more than 50 percent of the field – and that was Tristan Thompson, who went 3-for-5.
The Cavaliers are just not good enough to compensate for a bad shooting game, especially against a good team like the Celtics. So while Cleveland made clapping hits everywhere – many of them looked decent – Boston cut the defense of the Cavaliers by 58.5 percent and a total of 5 out of 12 for 12.
This is how the Cavaliers return to halftime 61-35, with long 48 hours between games 1 and 2, to find out how to slow Boston down – and maybe even take a couple of shots.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have one of the NBA's worst defenses throughout the season.
She is in the first game against the Celtics.
The first half of this Eastern Conference opening game was only a layup line for Boston, mixed with a couple of three for the Celtics.
The result? Boston holds a 58-33 lead in the second quarter, and it looks like Cleveland needs to start thinking about what to do in Game 2.
Kevin Love's early foul trial causes Cavalier's coach Tyronn Lue to mix his usual rotation.
LeBron James has successfully anchored the second unit at the beginning of the second quarter. But with Love, who went down early due to two quick fouls (and possibly coincided with Cleveland's 21-point deficit in the first round), James played the entire quarter while Love appeared in the second quarter.
Cleveland was slowly able to retreat into the game, but still has a long way to go to make it competitive again.
It was not long before the Celtics turned the game upside down.
Boston broke the game, starting with a 25-2 run that stretched more than six minutes and eventually finished 32:11 on Cleveland 32-11 over the last 9:18 to take a lead of 32:11 36-18 to reach for one.
The Celtics beat 14 for 22 In the first quarter, seven Boston players had time in the first round – led by Al Horfords 11 points on a perfect 4 for 4 position.
For most in the first quarter, 11 points have overtaken Cleveland's entire team, as the Cavaliers finally hit the clock even until 9pm thanks to the Boston explosion. A later outcry improved Cleveland's prospects somewhat, but the Cavaliers sprang up the game 3 by 16, including 0 for 5 of 3, to dig into a huge hole.
Several of these missed shots at the start of the game were open Looks that way too. In the meantime, Boston began to work with Cleveland's defense – which was a weak point all year long – with great results.
There has been much talk about how the Boston Celtics will try to stop LeBron James in the Eastern Conference final. Celtics coach Brad Stevens changed his starting grid for Game 1 by replacing Aron Baynes with Marcus Morris.
But if Boston wants to beat Cleveland and move on to the NBA final for the first time in eight years (the last time James lost to anyone in the East, by the way), the focus should not be on stopping James. Instead, it should neutralize Kevin Love.
Take a look at how the first two rounds of Cleveland playoffs shook. Love was everywhere against the Indiana Pacers in the first round. He never scored more than 19 points – scoring three goals in the single-digit range – and shot 33 percent out of the field. During the entire series 14 free throws were played (six in Game 4). It was no coincidence that the Pacers forced this series to play seven games and gave Cleveland everything he could handle.
Compare that to the game of love against the Toronto Raptors in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference. He had a tough game 1, seven points and no free throws in Cleveland's overtime win. But in games 2, 3 and 4? Love scored 31, 21 and 23 points, took a total of 20 free throws (18 for 20), scoring 47.5 percent of the field. Once again, not coincidentally, the Raptors were swept away by the Cleveland playoffs for a second season in a row.
The difference between the Indiana and Toronto series was that James was a solo act against the Pacers and part of an ensemble against the Raptors. When Cleveland's "other" cooks and kills the bullets, the Cavaliers turn from a very good to an unstoppable attack – on par with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets for their ability to score in grapes
Love is by far the most talented of Cleveland's supporting characters, a deserving all-star and versatile offensive weapon that can score from the post to the three-point line. Boston has to do everything it can to stop James, but for Love to be closer to Indiana than to Toronto.
If the Celtics succeed, they have a chance to make this series competitive. Unless? It's time to get ready to travel to Cleveland for the fourth time in June.
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