Down 1-0 after getting their clocks cleaned 108-83 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers could not afford to be in a 2-0 hole when the series heads back to Ohio. Game 2 was a much of a must win as the Cavaliers have faced this season.
Lebron James was not his usual super human self, only scoring 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting and looking less and less invested in the game as it wore on and it became evident that the Cavaliers would not be able to get back in the game. As expected, Lebron came out of the gate strong, scoring 21 points, more than he had in all of game 1, in nearly every conceivable way- on drives, post-ups, in the mid-range and from three-point range. James’ heroics only gave Cleveland a four point advantage, 27-23 at the end of the first quarter.
At 3:50 of the second quarter the Lebron James express was briefly halted when he went to the locker room after Jayson Tatum’s shoulder hit him in the jaw as Tatum was attempting to make a steal. James would miss less than two minutes of game time with what the Cavaliers would later say is a neck sprain. James would finish the first half with 25 points and Cleveland would take a 55-48 lead into halftime.
The third quarter would see Cleveland extend their lead to as much as nine off Kevin Love’s reverse layup made the score 61-52 with 10:09 to go in the period. Following that the Celtics would begin to chip away at the deficit, tying the game at 66 on two Terry Rozier free throws and again at 69 from the free throw via a Marcus Morris and-one.
Boston would take the lead 72-71 on a Marcus Smart three point basket. It was a lead the Celtics would never relinquish, as over the 16:34 of remaining game time. The Cavaliers would draw no closer than four points and the Celtics ended up winning 107-94.
Jaylen Brown scored 23 and kept up,his excellent play in these playoffs as he continues to play beyond his years. Terry Rozier added 18 and Al Horford contributed more solid and steady play with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
For Cleveland, offensively speaking, it was a lot of Lebron James and Kevin Love and not much else. Lebron recorded a triple-double with 42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds while Love had 22 points and 15 rebounds. The next highest scorer, and only other Cavalier in double figures was Kyle Korver with 11.
The series resumes Saturday in Cleveland for game 3 at 8:30 pm EST.