Although they did their best Sunday, the Boston Celtics were overwhelmed by LeBron-Irving-Love trio’s vitality, so the Game 1 of their first-round playoff series ended in a 113-100 win for the Cavs.
And indeed there wasn’t anything to say about the play of the Cavs’ three stars with Irving scoring 30 points, James adding 20 and Love rallying from a slow start to make up for the lost time with a double-double.
One hour after the Sunday’s game, Irving kind of summed it up:
“We are the Big 3. We have really great players on this team, but we set the tone.”
Irving, who is a playoff rookie, had five 3-pointers, while Love, a rookie as well, contributed with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Love scored the majority of his points – 13 to be more exact – in the second half.
LeBron was very proud of Irving and Love. He described their play as purely “phenomenal” for two guys who were playing for the first time in postseason. Before the opener, LeBron expressed his confidence that the two players were ready for the first-round, but he added a “you never know” to it. At the end of Game 1, however, Irving and Love played like playoff veterans with the Big 3’s combined scores of 69 points.
Irving explained that the Cavs needed four days of training to get ready. Before the matchup, neither he nor Love seemed nervous but they both looked relieved after the game. They even said that they were glad that Game 1 was behind them.
This Sunday’s game was also the Cavs’ first home playoff game since 2010 when they were defeated by the Celtics in Game 5, while LeBron had to leave the floor amid a wave of boos coming from some of his team’s hard-core fans. But all seems to be forgiven and forgotten now as Cleveland is struggling to win the championship.
The No. 7 seed Celtics’ star of the night was Isaiah Thomas who finished the game with a team-leading 22 points. The team is currently preparing to win Game 2 on Tuesday night.
Thomas said after the game that his teammates were ready for Game 2 and still confident since there may be seven games in the playoff series. He even joked that a player needs to have a short memory when he loses a game.
The Celtics had a hard time to fight a 20-point deficit in the third quarter. They managed to shrink it to six, but the Cavs were able to finish the quarter with a 9-0 run which led them to a 15-point lead in the last quarter.
In the final 12 minutes, the Celtics managed to settle within 10, but Love’s decisive 3-pointer in the last three minutes irreversibly slowed down Boston. Love, however, had a slow start as he managed to pull off only 2 points by halftime. But he quickly rallied in the third quarter. LeBron even had a feeling that the aggressive rhythm Love was in would later pay off for the entire team. On the other hand, James’ playoff experience of 158 games was wider than the Celtics’ entire roster.
Image Source: Boston Herald