BOSTON- The Celtics were ready to dismantle the Cavaliers in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics defense played with absolute grit and intensity. The shot selection was very smart. Boston was flat-out ready to compete and showed intensity right off the bat.
The Celtics won in major part due to a strong offensive effort. Boston gained an immediate in the paint advantage and kept daring the Cavs to put up a fight near the rim. Cleveland couldn’t stop the Boston big men from getting easy baskets so the Celtics kept getting inside for easy points. Al Horford scored 20 points and Jaylen Brown led the team with 23 points.
Perhaps the Celtics aren’t so venerable after all. The defensive intensity of the Celtics was not matched at all by the Cavs. The crowd fueled the Celtics fire and they played with absolute passion.
On the other side, Cleveland looked way too soft. The Cavs played equally as pathetic as the game one loss in the first round against the Indiana Pacers. It was so bad, the Cavs might as well have forfeited at half-time. Boston led 61-35 at half-time. Cleveland trimmed the deficit to 14 points at the end of the third quarter. However, the Cavs strong third quarter effort was futile in the end as Boston kept the pedal to the metal. Lackluster shooting and cupcake defense doomed the Cavs in the end as Boston obliterated them 108-83. The Cavs were pitiful on three-point attempts as they made four of 24 three pointer attempts.
LeBron James couldn’t hit many shots. He only scored 15 points as opposed to his usual 30 or more points. This series shouldn’t be considered over yet. The Cavs played this bad in the first round and managed to survive in a seven game series. The Cavs may play with better intensity in game two but they should have learned to take the first game seriously after the Pacers pummeled them weeks ago. Cavs Head Coach Ty Lue said, “We will play better next game”.