Bos­ton stay strong

Celtics sur­vive LeBron’s on­slaught to take a com­mand­ing 2-0 se­ries lead

Sport360 - - Mlb - By Char­lie Nai­smith edi­to­rial@sport360.com @Sport360 b *

Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and the Bos­ton Celtics over­came a 42-point per­for­mance from LeBron James to beat Cleve­land 107-94 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 for the Celtics, who im­proved to 8-0 this post­sea­son at the Bos­ton Gar­den.

“We re­ally lean on him,” said Brown of Hor­ford. “He has been do­ing it all year. That is why they pay him the big bucks.”

The Celtics, who over­came a dou­ble digit deficit, have never blown a 2-0 se­ries lead in the post­sea­son. Game three is Sun­day in Cleve­land.

Brown said they can’t let up in game three be­cause Cava­liers superstar James usu­ally raises his game another notch af­ter a loss.

“We need tremen­dous fo­cus. He (James) one of best play­ers of all time. But if there is any­body I would put my money on it would be this group,” Brown said.

The Celtics used a bal­anced at­tack as a half dozen play­ers reached dou­ble fig­ures. Cleve­land had 15 turnovers lead­ing to 13 Bos­ton points and the Celtics had just six turnovers.

James also de­liv­ered 12 as­sists and 10 re­bounds, scor­ing 21 of Cleve­land’s 27 points in the first quar­ter.

His 42 points marked his fifth 40-point game of these play­offs. James had just 15 points and missed all five of his three-point at­tempts in a game one de­feat.

“We have the op­por­tu­nity go back home and take home court,” James said. “They did what they had to do to pro­tect home court and now it is our time as well.

“We will see what we are made of on Satur­day.”

Tues­day’s game got phys­i­cal as the Celtics pulled out all the stops to try and con­tain James.

James ap­peared to strain his neck in a first-half col­li­sion. The Cava­liers sagged in the sec­ond half, where they were outscored 59-39 by the Celtics.

Cleve­land coach Ty­ronn Lue said they need to be more phys­i­cal and re­ferred to the Bos­ton play­ers as goons.

“We got to be tougher men­tally and phys­i­cally,” Lue said. “They are goon­ing it up and we have got to do the same thing.”

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

Kyle Korver came off the bench to score 11 points but starters Tris­tan Thomp­son, JR Smith and Ge­orge Hill com­bined for just 11 points in the loss.

“Down the stretch we took some bad shots,” Lue said.

“We didn’t close the half way we wanted to and they had a big third quar­ter.

“In the third quar­ter we had some mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion on de­fence and they scored some easy bas­kets.”

Com­ing up big: Jaylen Brown scores two of his 23-point haul in the win over Cleve­land.

Back in busi­ness: Daniel Descalso.

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