The Celtics were ice cold to open up Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and ice cold doesn’t usually work out well against the defending champs.
Wednesday was no exception, as the Celtics fell to the Cavaliers 117-104.
Boston entered the game hopeful of playing at a high level, but struggled to put the ball through the basket throughout the first half. The team had a particularly poor start from the field, as it missed 11 of its first 14 shots of the night.
Cleveland, meanwhile, did not struggle to put the ball through the basket, as they scored 30 points during the first quarter on 59.1 percent shooting. The Cavs saw an opportunity to pull away, and they did just that.
LeBron James scored nine points and assisted on four more as Cleveland built a 22-9 lead to start the game. The Cavaliers led by double figures for all but two minutes and eight seconds of game action the rest of the night as they cruised to their Game 1 victory.
LeBron James was great Wednesday night. He needed some help, however, to down the Celtics, and Kevin Love was there to provide it.
Love was outstanding during Game 1, as he totaled 32 points and 12 rebounds to account for his team’s only double-double of the night. Isaiah Thomas (17 points, 10 assists) contributed one on Boston’s side of the ball.
Love was lights-out from the field, and particularly from long distance. He made six of his nine 3-pointers as he provided the necessary space to allow James to go to work off the dribble.
It’s tough to beat James when he tallies 39 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a game. That challenge is made even more difficult when a guy like Love is playing at the level he did Wednesday night, right alongside James.
Box Score Nuggets
– Both teams scored at least 50 points in the paint.
– LeBron James led the game in scoring with 38 points.
– Kevin Love also scored 32 points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds.
– Both teams scored 15 second-chance points.
– Isaiah Thomas logged a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 10 assists.
– Boston totaled 33 assists on 41 made baskets.
– Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder tied for Boston’s team high in scoring with 21 points apiece.
– Thomas (four), Avery Bradley (three) and Al Horford (three) each committed three or more turnovers.
– Boston shot a woeful 10-for-18 (55.6 percent) from the free-throw line.
– Three Cavs (James, Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving) each grabbed two steals apiece.
– Thompson also contributed 20 points and nine rebounds.
– All five of Cleveland’s starters finished with a plus/minus rating of at least plus-11.
– Jaylen Brown was great off of Boston’s bench, tallying 10 points and nine rebounds. Those nine boards led the team.
– Gerald Green scored 11 points in less than 14 minutes of action.
– Crowder was Boston’s top all-around player with 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
– Cleveland led from start to finish and at one point pulled ahead by as many as 28 points.
Quote of the Night
“It’s hard to believe, but he’s better than when I got into the league – a lot better …”—Brad Stevens on LeBron James.
By Marc D’Amico for Celtics.com
First appeared on NBA.com Global