Keys to the Game: Celtics 108, Cavaliers 83
Game 1 of the Eastern Finals was ultra-competitive.
For all of three minutes.
Cleveland led 7-4 after the first three minutes of Game 1, but it was all Celtics from there. Blow by blow, Boston quickly put the Cavaliers away as the remainder of the first half unfolded.
The C’s responded to their early deficit by rallying to score 17 straight points to pull ahead 21-7. Al Horford scored the final eight points of the run and 10 overall during the spurt, including his first made 3-pointer since Game 1 against Philadelphia.
The Garden was excited at that point, but by the time the first half came to a close, the building was literally rumbling. Boston went on to pull ahead by as many as 28 points during the second quarter to show the whole world that was watching that this C’s team is not here by fluke.
As the second half began, Boston took onto the court a first-hand memory of a team coming back from more than 20 points during this postseason. The Celtics themselves accomplished that feat during the second round against Philadelphia.
Cleveland, however, did not possess any semblance of that comeback ability.
The Cavs faded, and Boston’s lead never dropped to below 14 points during the second half as the C’s easily put Cleveland away, 108-83, for a 1-0 series lead.
Marcus Morris sounded very confident when he spoke to the media Saturday afternoon. He looked very confident when he took to the court one day later.
Morris was the best player on the court during Game 1 of the Eastern Finals, as he tallied the game’s only double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He outperformed LeBron James in both categories, as James tallied only 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.
This was a scoring effort the Celtics had been seeking from Morris for some time now. They made it to this round of the Playoffs while Morris, their leading bench scorer, tallied no more than 14 points during nine of his previous 10 games. Morris shot just 30.5 percent from the field during Boston’s Conference Semifinals matchup with Philadelphia.
Scoring and shooting were not issues during Game 1. Morris made seven of his 12 shot attempts, including a 3-for-4 performance from long range.
After reading all of that, it likely won’t surprise you to learn that the Celtics outscored the Cavaliers by 25 points while Morris was on the court. Morris was, plain and simple, outstanding.
Box Score Nuggets
- Four Celtics outscored LeBron James, who tallied only 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
- Boston scored 60 points in the paint, compared to Cleveland's 38.
- Marcus Morris tallied the game's only double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
- Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 23 points.
- Morris, Brown and Al Horford (20 points) all reached the 20-point barrier.
- Cleveland shot just 4-for-26 (15.4 percent) from long range.
- Kevin Love led Cleveland with 17 points.
- James committed seven turnovers - just four fewer than Boston's team total.
- Boston led by as many as 29 points during the game.
- Tristan Thompson grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, including four at the offensive end.
- Terry Rozier filled the stat sheet with eight points, eight assists and six rebounds.
- James dished out a game-high nine assists.
- Boston attempted only 13 free throws during the game.
Quote of the Night
We have a lot of room for improvement from tonight.
Brad Stevens, after his team dominated the Cavs from start to finish.