Celtics top Cavs to take 2-0 lead

James’ 42 points, triple-dou­ble not enough to fuel Cleve­land

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS -

BOS­TON — Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and the Bos­ton Celtics with­stood a 42-point night by LeBron James to beat the Cleve­land Cava­liers 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 8-0 this post­sea­son at TD Gar­den. The Celtics have never blown a 2-0 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 40-point 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.

“It was a tough play. Ob­vi­ously in­ci­den­tal,” James said af­ter the game. “His shoul­der hit me square in the jaw. It didn’t af­fect my game af­ter that.”

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 Smart got in Smith’s face af­ter Smith pushed Hor­ford in the back to pre­vent a layup. Smith shoved Smart and the pair had to be sep­a­rated.

Smith was as­sessed a fla­grant foul and both re­ceived tech­ni­cals.

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. Celtics 107, Cava­liers 94 CLEVE­LAND (94) James 16-29 5-10 42, Love 9-18 2-2 22, Thomp­son 4-6 0-0 8, Hill 1-4 1-2 3, Smith 0-7 0-0 0, Nance Jr. 0-1 0-0 0, Green 2-5 1-2 6, Os­man 0-0 0-0 0, Calderon 0-0 0-0 0, Hood 1-2 0-0 2, Korver 4-8 1-1 11. To­tals 37-80 10-17 94. BOS­TON (107) Ta­tum 5-12 0-0 11, Mor­ris 5-14 1-1 12, Hor­ford 5-13 4-5 15, Rozier 7-16 2-2 18, Brown 9-18 2-4 23, Ojel­eye 0-0 2-2 2, Nader 1-1 0-0 2, Yabusele 0-0 0-0 0, Baynes 4-7 0-0 9, Mon­roe 1-2 2-2 4, Smart 3-9 4-4 11. To­tals 40-92 17-20 107. Cleve­land 27 28 22 17— 94 Bos­ton 23 25 36 23—107 3-Point Goals—Cleve­land 10-31 (James 5-11, Korver 2-5, Love 2-6, Green 1-3, Hill 0-2, Smith 0-4), Bos­ton 10-31 (Brown 3-8, Rozier 2-8, Baynes 1-1, Smart 1-3, Ta­tum 1-3, Hor­ford 1-4, Mor­ris 1-4). Fouled Out—None. Re­bounds— Cleve­land 45 (Love 15), Bos­ton 46 (Hor­ford 10). As­sists—Cleve­land 18 (James 12), Bos­ton 24 (Smart 9). To­tal Fouls—Cleve­land 21, Bos­ton 18. Tech­ni­cals—Thomp­son, Smith, Mor­ris, Smart. A—18,624 (18,624). WEST­ERN CON­FER­ENCE FI­NALS: The Hous­ton Rock­ets have plenty of things to fix in Game 2 tonight af­ter squan­der­ing their home-court ad­van­tage in the West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals.

Tops on their list: lim­it­ing turnovers, elim­i­nat­ing open 3s and mak­ing things tougher on the Golden State War­riors — par­tic­u­larly Kevin Du­rant.

“Kevin Du­rant and (Stephen) Curry, they’re good. So they’re go­ing to make” shots, Hous­ton coach Mike D’An­toni said. “Our head can’t ex­plode that they go one-on-one and make shots … you have to be able to ab­sorb some of their great­ness; at the same time, don’t make the men­tal er­rors that we did. That would ac­cu­mu­late for 15, 20 points, and that’s the dif­fer­ence in the game.”

It al­most sounds like the Rock­ets will have to play al­most per­fect beat the War­riors. They wouldn’t go as far as to say that, but James Har­den, who scored 41 in Game 1, did say that at this level the mar­gin for er­ror gets ra­zor thin.

“It’s the (con­fer­ence) fi­nals,” he said. “There’s four teams here for a rea­son. Ob­vi­ously these four teams have done great things all year. You can’t make the same men­tal mis­takes like you’re in a reg­u­lar sea­son.”

DRAFT LOT­TERY: Phoenix won the top pick in next month’s draft.

It’s the first time the Suns will have the chance to make the first over­all se­lec­tion. The Suns had the right com­bi­na­tion of ping­pong balls pop up for them at the draft lot­tery Tues­day night, a re­ward of sorts af­ter a sea­son in which Phoenix had the NBA’s worst record at 21-61.

Sacra­mento will pick No. 2 and At­lanta got the No. 3 pick — both of them mov­ing up to get there. The top three spots were de­ter­mined by the lot­tery, and then spots 4-14 fell in line of re­verse or­der of record.

The rest of the slots, in or­der, went to No. 4 Mem­phis, No. 5 Dal­las, No. 6 Or­lando, No. 7 Chicago, No. 8 Cleve­land, No. 9 New York, No. 10 Philadel­phia, No. 11 Charlotte, No. 12 and No. 13 Los An­ge­les Clip­pers, and No. 14 Den­ver.

The draft is June 21 in Brook­lyn.

CHARLES KRUPA/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bos­ton’s Jayson Ta­tum (0) drives to the bas­ket as Cleve­land’s Tris­tan Thomp­son (13) de­fends dur­ing the Celtics’ win over the Cava­liers Tues­day in Game 2.

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