Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Celtics thwart Lebron James, Cavaliers in Game 1 of East finals

Celtics open series with authority, rout Cavs Marcus Morris Was Not Joking When He Said He Would Stop LeBron
Cary Erickson | 16 May, 2018, 09:35

The Celtics forced James to work harder defensively and rotated several players on the 4-time NBA Most Valuable Player to contain him offensively.

But given LeBron's terrible performance in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 108-83 loss to the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday afternoon at the Garden, the King's postgame play-by-play recital probably received more attention than it should have.

Lebron James is the Wilt Chamberlain of today's National Basketball Association, while Morris and the Celtics represent Russell and the Celtics of old.

LeBron James recorded 42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, marking his NBA-record 17th career playoff game with more than 30 points and 10 assists.

Take the Celtics' 108-83 win against the Cavaliers on Sunday to open the Eastern Conference Finals as the latest example.

"Horford is playing very well right now and he's shooting the crap out of the ball", Thompson said. We've got to help him and be effective. Horford scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and also pulled down 10 rebounds.

In the 2015 second round, the Cavs lost Game 1 to the Bulls, 99-92 at home, with James putting up 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists on 9-of-22 shooting.

Over James' postseason lifetime, a circumstance similar to what he's suggesting here against the Celtics has played out on a few other memorable occasions.

"Usually when LeBron has these type of games, the next game he does something legendary", said teammate Tristan Thompson.

"I have zero level of concern at this stage", James said after the Celtics blew the Cavs out in the opening game - a rare poor playoff outing for James.

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LeBron James vs Marcus Morris - This is quite obviously the most important matchup of the game.

The game turned ugly in the fourth quarter when JR Smith shoved Horford in the back during an alley-oop attempt, sending the big centre crashing to the floor.

With that being said, the C's can't let the anticipation of a bounce-back game from James and the Cavs allow them to lose sight of their own game plan. Cleveland was an astonishing minus-32 in his minutes on the court.

And Lue is going to play chess with Brad Stevens in an effort to increase the odds of a James Show in Game 2, too.

Equally impressed was Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green, who has faced off against James three times in the last three years in the NBA Finals.

"I think as a team, 1 through 5, we gotta all play tougher", Thompson said.

Just a day before tip-off, nobody even knew Morris was going to draw the start in Game 1. The Celtics led his Heat 3-2 that night but never had a chance in a 45-point outburst that featured his murder face.

Down seven at the half, after trailing as many as 11 in the second quarter, the Celtics made their charge in the third quarter behind Rozier and a relentless Garden-faithful fueled attack.

"We have to focus on what we do best, realize that you're going to get that punch, that you're going to get that hit by LeBron and the rest of those guys", said Stevens.