Cavaliers’ Big 3 set the tone in win over Celtics
More than hour after his first playoff game with LeBron James and Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving made a statement more profound than anything he did on the floor.
“We,” Irving said, “are the Big Three. We have really great players on this team, but we set the tone.” Tone set. Irving scored 30 points in his playoff debut, James added 20 in his first postseason game with Cleveland in five years, and Love shook off a slow start to record a double-double, leading the Cavaliers to a 113-100 homecourt victory in Game 1 over the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
Irving made five threepointers and Love, another postseason rookie, added 19 points — 13 in the second half — and 12 rebounds
“They were phenomenal,” James said. “Those two guys, they succeeded for the first time being in the postseason.”
It was Cleveland’s first home playoff game since May 11, 2010, when the Celtics won Game 5 and James left the floor to some boos from Cavaliers fans. He left for Miami two months later, but he’s back, and Cleveland is aiming to end a championship drought dating to 1964.
Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points to lead the seventhseeded Celtics. “We’re still confident,” he said. “Guys are ready for Game 2. ... There are possibly seven games in this series, and it could go either way.”
Boston climbed within 10 in the final 12 minutes, but Love made a crucial threepointer with 3:32 left.
at Atlanta 99, Brooklyn 92: Kyle Korver scored 21 points, including five threepointers, and the top-seeded Hawks held off the pesky Nets in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference series. The Hawks led nearly the entire game and pushed the margin as high as 16 points, but the Nets kept coming back.
Brooklyn finished 22 games behind the Hawks and slipped into the playoffs on the final day. But, with Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez each scoring 17 points, they didn’t look overmatched by Atlanta.
at Memphis, 100, Portland, 86: Reserve Beno Udrih scored 20 points, and the Grizzlies never trailed in routing the Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round series.
Zach Randolph had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Marc Gasol added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Mike Conley finished with 16 points and didn’t play the fourth quarter.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 32 points while taking more shots than anyone had ever taken against Memphis in the postseason, going 13 of 34. Nicolas Batum added 15 points.