Celtics take 2 - 0 lead, down Cavs, 107-94

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BOS­TON — The Celtics punched the Cava­liers first and never looked back in rolling to a Game 1 rout.

LeBron James took a lit­eral shot to the jaw in Game 2 but kept right on scor­ing.

So did the Celtics.

Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and Bos­ton with­stood a 42point night by James to beat Cleve­land 107-94 on Tues­day and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals.

Terry Rozier added 18 points, while Al Hor­ford fin­ished with 15 points and 10 re­bounds.

Bos­ton im­proved to 9-0 this post­sea­son at TD Gar­den. The Celtics have never blown a 20 se­ries lead in the play­offs.

James added 12 as­sists and 10 re­bounds. He scored 21 of Cleve­land’s 27 points in the first quar­ter , ty­ing his play­off ca­reer high for points in a pe­riod. His 42 points marked his fifth 40point game of this post­sea­son. James had just 15 points and missed all five of his 3-

point at­tempts in the Cavs’ Game 1 loss.

But he didn’t seem to play with the same force af­ter strain­ing his neck in a first-half col­li­sion and the Cava­liers wilted in the sec­ond half, with the Celtics outscor­ing them 59-39.

Kevin Love fin­ished with 22 points and 15 re­bounds for Cleve­land.

As ex­pected, Tris­tan Thomp­son started in place of Kyle Korver in the hopes his pres­ence could en­er­gize what was a slug­gish Cavs of­fense in Game 1. Thomp­son got Cleve­land’s first bas­ket of the night and helped to limit Hor­ford’s ef­fec­tive­ness on the in­side early on.

Korver added 11 points off the bench for Cleve­land. But starters Thomp­son, JR Smith and Ge­orge Hill com­bined for just 11 points on 5-of-17 shoot­ing.

Tem­pers flared with 3:49 to play with Bos­ton lead­ing 97-89. Mar­cus Mor­ris got in Smith’s face af­ter Smith pushed Hor­ford in the back to pre­vent a layup. Smith shoved Mor­ris and the pair had to be sep­a­rated.

Smith was as­sessed a fla­grant foul and both re­ceived tech­ni­cal fouls.

Smith said there was no ma­li­cious in­tent on the play.

Bos­ton’s bal­anced at­tack was ef­fec­tive again, with six play­ers reach­ing dou­ble fig­ures. Cleve­land had 15 turnovers lead­ing to 13 Bos­ton points. The Celtics turned it over just six times.

Bos­ton led 84-77 af­ter three quar­ters and took com­mand late in the fourth with the Cavs get­ting lit­tle of­fense other than from James. Cleve­land’s starters were pulled with 1:48 left and the Cavs down 14.

James was on the at­tack from the open­ing tip. He turned the ball over the Cavs’ first pos­ses­sion. But it was one of his only mis­cues in the first quar­ter.

James was also as­tound­ingly ef­fi­cient, us­ing his drib­ble to cre­ate space, while he knocked down an as­sort­ment of jump shots.

He fin­ished the open­ing quar­ter 8 of 13 from the field and 4 of 7 from the 3-point line.

His mo­men­tum was stunted briefly at the 3:50 mark of the sec­ond quar­ter, when Jayson Ta­tum was whis­tled for a foul af­ter catch­ing James jaw with his shoulder as he at­tempted a steal. James stayed in the game and con­nected on one of his en­su­ing free throws, but then ex­ited to the locker room with Cleve­land lead­ing 47-36.

The Cava­liers said James had a neck sprain. He re­turned af­ter miss­ing less than two min­utes of game time.

Bos­ton flur­ried just be­fore the half, get­ting six points from Mor­ris in the fi­nal minute to trim Cleve­land’s lead to 55-48 at the break.

AP Photo

JUMP FOR JOY. Bos­ton Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) and for­ward Mar­cus Mor­ris leap in cel­e­bra­tion near the end of Game 2 of the team’s NBA bas­ket­ball Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals against the Cleve­land Cava­liers in Bos­ton.

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