NBA Playoffs: Celtics Inspire, Cavs Crumble Despite LeBron James Masterclass

At least that’s what it looked like after James dropped 21 first quarter points to give the Cavs the early lead.

But as has so often been the case with Cleveland this season; a consistent four-quarter performance just couldn’t be sustained; a dominant 59-39 second half guiding the Celtics to a 107-94 win and a 2-0 series advantage.

James finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists; and yet it wasn’t enough. “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.” Kevin Love was next best with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

But other contributions were few and far between — Kyle Korver the only other Cavalier to reach double figures, with 11. It was a different story for the Celtics.

Jaylen Brown notched 23 points in a second straight game, Terry Rozier had 18 points, while Aron Baynes put up nine points, six rebounds, and an assist in his 17 minutes off the bench.

Marcus Smart was at his energetic best again; the Celtics utility man contributing 11 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and four steals, and was a game-high +21.

“We kept our poise, and just kept playing our basketball, the way that we’ve been playing,” Horford, who had a 15-point double-double explained.

“Tough on defence, moving the ball on offence, and that’s just the way that we try to play throughout the whole game.

“We have each other’s backs.”

LeBron James and the Cavs find themselves in a 2-0 hole.

LeBron James and the Cavs find themselves in a 2-0 hole. Source: AP

The Cavs actually took a seven-point buffer into the break behind James’ 25 half-time points, and even extended that lead to as much as 11 points in the third quarter.

But a 32-16 run — led by a surging Rozier — gave Boston a seven-point advantage going into the fourth; and they never looked like giving it back.

Cleveland did pull within six points thanks to a James jumpshot with just under five minutes remaining; but turnovers and ill-discipline killed the Cavs down the stretch, as the Celtics closed the game out on a 12-5 spurt.

“I think I’ll be fine. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. You go out and when you lay everything on the line, at the end of the day, you can live with that,” James said. “They did what they had to do, and that was protect home, and now it’s our time to try to do that, as well.”

The series now heads to Cleveland for Game 3 on Sunday, May 20 (AEST).

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