Cavaliers 124, Celtics 95
There are games when teams put their opponent away, and then there are games when teams put their opponent away early. Tonight was a clear case of the latter.
LeBron James was a maniac in the first quarter, outscoring the Celtics by himself, and was the main reason the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to jump out to a stunning 36-17 lead after the first 12 minutes. James dropped 21 points in the quarter on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor, dropped in all five of his free throws and also grabbed four rebounds.
His offensive mindset -- and efficiency -- set the tone for the game and his teammates followed suit. Antawn Jamison also shot 3-of-4 from the field in the first while grabbing six boards and Mo Williams notched three assists. Their ball movement and execution resulted in 13 free throw attempts, 12 of which were made.
With Cleveland scoring on nearly every possession they had, Boston's psyche seemed to take a hit. Their defense was nearly nonexistent, and that transferred to a poor performance at the other end.
Rajon Rondo was the only Celtic putting the ball through the basket, and even he struggled from the field. He scored six points in the first quarter but shot only 3-of-9 from the field. The rest of his teammates combined to shoot only 3-of-13 in the quarter.
When the final tally was set, the Celtics trailed by 19 points and the Cavaliers never let off of the gas pedal. Boston never cut the lead to less than 15 from that point on, and they wound up falling to the Cavs by a score of 124-95.
After trading lopsided victories on the road, the C's will try to even the series at 2-2 at 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the Garden.
Key Box Score Line
LeBron James was an MVP tonight. The Celtics limited his impact in the first two games of this series, but he was utterly unstoppable tonight.
James dropped 21 points in the first quarter to set the tone for Cleveland and finished the game with 38 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He shot an economical 14-of-22 from the floor, grabbed one steal and blocked two shots.
His elbow is undoubtedly healed, which is allowing him to once again mix his outside shooting in with his lethal ability to create off of the dribble. The C's will have their work cut out for them in trying to slow James down moving forward, but if there's a defense that can you it, you'd like to think it's the Boston's.
Box Score Nuggets
- Cleveland scored at least 28 points in each of the four quarters.
- The Celtics shot only 23.5 percent from 3-point range.
- Rajon Rondo recorded a game-high eight assists to go along with 18 points and five rebounds.
- Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 19 points.
- Cleveland outrebounded Boston 45-30.
- The Celtics finished with 20 assists compared to only seven turnovers, while Cleveland racked up 25 assists and 12 turnovers.
- Cleveland's largest lead was 35, while Boston did not hold a single lead in the game.
- LeBron James exploded for 38 points, eight rebounds and seven assists on 14-of-22 shooting from the floor.
- Antawn Jamison had his best game of the series with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
- Nate Robinson scored 11 points off the bench in only 12:30 of playing time, but needed 10 field goal attempts (three of which were made) to do it.
- Cleveland outscored Boston 50-32 in the paint.
- Delonte West scored 14 points off the bench for the Cavaliers.
- The Cavs shot 31-of-34 from the free-throw line.
- Cleveland shot 59.5 percent from the floor.
- Paul Pierce (11 points) and Ray Allen (seven points) combined for only 18 points on 6-of-24 shooting.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers' response to being asked how he would characterize LeBron James' first-quarter performance: "I think he's healthy. That's how I'm going to characterize it."