Game 2 Celtics and Cavaliers Strategy

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In Sunday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics, LeBron James had an outing to forget.

The Cleveland Cavaliers struggled to shoot the ball against the Boston Celtics throughout Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, but those offensive lulls compounded into defensive issues.

The post Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson say Cleveland's first half defense in Game 1 was soft appeared first on Cavs Nation. He scored 21 of Cleveland's 27 points in the first quarter, tying his playoff career high for points in a period. In their eight playoff games, all wins, the Celtics have averaged 110.5 points per game.

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The Celtics had 60 points in the paint, and went 22-of-30 at the rim, in their 108-83 blowout in the opening game of the series.

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Again, it's hard to believe James will be as weak as he was in game 1 (15 points, 7 turnovers, 31.3% from the field), but even if he's at his best, it might not be enough anymore.

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. Marcus Morris, the self-acclaimed best LeBron defender outside of Kawhi Leonard, did an excellent job 1-on-1 against James, but it was an overall pristine team effort on defense from the C's.

When the Cavs did finally show a little momentum, cutting Boston's lead to 14 at the end of the third quarter, the Celtics responded with a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth.

Lue wouldn't commit to Thompson starting Game 2 on Tuesday, but the coach cited his success against the 6-foot-10 Horford, who's averaging 17.2 points and 8.3 rebounds this postseason, as a reason for the possible switch.

Just as the Cavaliers rapidly rose to contender status with James on the roster, they could become a nonfactor just as quickly if the multi-time league MVP heads to Philadelphia.

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That said, whenever Clarkson is on the floor against players like Terry Rozier and the aforementioned Brown and Tatum, keeping a heady point like George Hill on the court would be wise, even if LeBron James is on the court. "This is its own game, we have to really come out with that edge that we've been playing with".

But this time, you didn't see him the way you wanted him to play.

The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the Eastern Conference finals with a 9-3 record against the Celtics in games played at the Garden over the last four years, including six straight wins. The Game 1 defeat was his second-worst in playoff history. "It's about us trying to answer that challenge and finding a new level defensively as well". "Obviously, when I check in the game, I try to bring that toughness and energy, but our starters have got to be ready to throw the first punch".

"We've got to help 'Bron", he said.

Thompson said the Cavs weren't able to "clean up the boo-boo on our lips" after the Celtics' initial run in Game 1. Morris won the Big 12 Player of the Year award in his junior and final year at Kansas. After all, it's not as if they played poorly and lost a close game; they played poorly and were blown out.

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