JAMES GOES ON A RAM­PAGE

Pow­ers Cavs in record rout of Celtics

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LEBRON James con­tin­ued his dy­namic play­off run scor­ing 30 points as de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Cleve­land Cava­liers ex­ploded for a 130-86 blowout of the Bos­ton Celtics to take a 2-0 lead in their NBA play­off se­ries.

James scored 22 points in the first half on Fri­day as the Cava­liers led 72-31 at the break — the largest half­time ad­van­tage in NBA post­sea­son his­tory.

It was the big­gest play­off win ever for the Cava­liers, who now have the lux­ury of host­ing games three and four in Cleve­land.

“I am a guy that lives in the mo­ment. Our team are in a great groove right now,” James said.

“We want to try to get bet­ter. I said be­fore that we had an­other level and (peo­ple) looked at me like I was crazy,” he added.

“I be­lieve we have an­other level as well. We can con­tinue to get bet­ter. No com­pla­cency with us right now.”

The Celtics team had their heart ripped out for the sec­ond game in a row at the Bos­ton Gar­den. It marked the worst home play­off loss in fran­chise his­tory, fall­ing three points shy of match­ing Bos­ton’s worst post­sea­son de­feat.

James’s per­for­mance came in front of a crowd of 18,600 and just hours af­ter he was snubbed as a nom­i­nee for the league’s MVP award.

“What can I do about it? My only job is to be MVP of this team ev­ery night. I know what I bring to the ta­ble,” he said.

Cleve­land coach Ty­ronn Lue didn’t agree with leav­ing James’s name off the three-man nom­i­nee list.

“I look at LeBron like Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal),” said Lue. “I think ev­ery year he’s the MVP and you could give him the award ev­ery year if you wanted to.”

James has scored 30 points in eight straight games as he looks to visit the fi­nals for the sev­enth­straight sea­son. He has never lost a play­off se­ries when his team have been up 2-0.

Head­ing into the game, James was av­er­ag­ing 34.8 points, 9.0 re­bounds and 7.1 as­sists per game in these play­offs.

He dished out seven as­sists and added four re­bounds, four steals and three blocked shots, while Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 re­bounds and Kyrie Irv­ing 23 points.

The win was the Cava­liers’ 13th straight in the play­offs, dat­ing back to the last three games of the fi­nals last year. The streak equals an NBA record.

Bos­ton guard Avery Bradley said he was stunned the Celtics weren’t able to bring more of­fence to the ta­ble.

“It is em­bar­rass­ing,” he said. “The games are over and we al­ready been em­bar­rassed. Not much can hap­pen now.”

Adding to Bos­ton’s woes, Isa­iah Thomas was lost to a right hip strain at half­time. Be­fore that, he was hounded by the Cava­liers, miss­ing all six shots in the first half. But he did as­sist on six of his team’s 11 bas­kets in the half.

The Celtics, who lost the first two games of their first-round se­ries with the Chicago Bulls at home, had won five straight at home since then be­fore los­ing the opener of this NBA semi-fi­nal se­ries.

RE­SULT — Semi-fi­nal play­off (best of seven se­ries): Cleve­land 130 Bos­ton 86 (Cleve­land lead 20). AFP

AFP PIC

Cava­liers’ Kevin Love dunks the ball against Celtics in their Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals in Bos­ton on Fri­day.

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