It was a back-and-forth affair with the Cavaliers landing punches and the Celtics throwing them right back. For that reason, Boston fans remained on edge with the inevitable LeBron James bounce back game on the cards.
Last night's Game 2 was up 71 percent from last year's Eastern Conference Finals Game 2, featuring the same matchup. Cleveland had 15 turnovers leading to 13 Boston points.
James and Brown combined for 35 of the game's first 50 points as the Cavaliers jumped out to a 27-23 lead after one quarter. Yet to former Celtics star/LeBron nemesis Paul Pierce, there's a lot of 2010 in this series.
Cleveland was bad in Game 1, much like they were against in in the opening round of the playoffs. I think we've got to be physical, and we've got to have a physical mindset, you know, that they're coming in, playing tough. Cleveland did exactly that: for a half. Fortunately, they have a few days to do so.
According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, this includes the idea that both head coach Tyronn Lue and star forward LeBron James wanted their Cavaliers to make a deal for Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan during February's trade deadline.
"If it's 50/50 balls, he's going to get it".
"For these guys to be so young and then be in the playoffs and then be in the Eastern Conference finals, that's just helping them grow", he added. The Celtics turned it over just six times.
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LeBron James bounced back from a lethargic Game 1 outing and stuffed the stat sheets with a monster triple-double of 42 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of action.
Kevin Love finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland. The Cavs have been broken by the grit and grind of the Celtics and now find themselves in an 0-2 hole. "We gotta be tougher mentally and physically". Changing a coach is quite easy (too easy, probably) in professional sports, and blaming the coach often seems like a better outcome than blaming the players. If the role players don't play well for Cleveland, they're in trouble.
Game 3 is slated for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. EST in Cleveland, as the Cavs, who are down 2-0, will look to climb back into the series. The Celtics have never blown a 2-0 series lead in the playoffs. Cleveland is 5-1 at home but only the Game 4 win over a demoralized Toronto team was a one-sided contest.
In his National Basketball Association postseason career, LeBron James has been the king of the split as most of his less-talented teams have at least won one of two in the first two games in a series. Smith has been locked in defensively throughout the postseason, so Lue is assuming he'll get it together.
James might have an even better game in him, where he continues to take and hit the hard shots all game long, but if you panic and force adjustments because of it, you will be making things much easier on him. I'm going to go home tonight and see my three kids, see my family, re-calibrate, see my mom.
"Missing: Tall, athletic-looking members of Cleveland's professional basketball team".