Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Isaiah Thomas Says Celtics Aren't Scared of Cavaliers Despite Game 1 Loss

Isaiah Thomas Says Celtics Aren't Scared of Cavaliers Despite Game 1 Loss

A day after winning the National Basketball Association draft lottery and earning the right to the No. 1 overall pick, the Celtics were reminded of the gap between them and the defending National Basketball Association champion Cavaliers when Cleveland opened the Eastern Conference finals with a 117-104 victory on Wednesday night. It, at times, looked like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon, with the C's playing the role of Wile E. Coyote and LeBron James as the Road Runner.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James takes the floor for Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, in Boston.

He was efficient, scoring from the outside, rolling downhill and getting to the rim at will, passing to teammates and locking down Boston's scorers when called upon.

There were a number of times when Love simply drifted to the corner and waited for a pass that often didn't come, and he sometimes disappeared from games if he didn't get involved in the offense early on. The Cavs are 9-0 in this year's playoffs and now 4-1 against the Celtics overall in the 2016-17 campaign. Game 2 is on Friday night before the series shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.

"He was aggressive", James said, adding, "Definitely, that mentality from Minnesota is what we all love". I knew what type of game he was going to have.

James had 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Good luck with that Boston.

"I know that we have to play a lot better at the start", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. The hit us first.

Most of the damage in Game 1 was done by only two players - James and Love. Cleveland had 22 points in the paint in the first, and James scored 15 in the first quarter alone.

A loss Friday would also leave Boston with the daunting proposition of having to win four out of five games to take the series - a almost impossible task against a team that since James returned to Cleveland in 2014-15 has a 33-4 playoff record against Eastern Conference opponents. Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 27 points in the series against Washington, finished with 17 on 7-for-19 shooting. He also had a team-high four turnovers - another red flag for Boston's prospects. "They were more physical", Thomas said. "They play their traditional way". "I saw it in Kev this morning".

"I have to be in attack mode, just put the pressure on the defense, see what happens".

I love Thomas' attitude, and I'd expect nothing less from him and the Celtics.

Conversely, James has shown an ability to completely stifle Thomas on the defensive end. Love opened up the floor for James, burying outside jumpers and forcing Boston to leave defenders one-on-one with James.

And even if Thomas can rediscover his shot, he will need more scoring help against the Cavs' Big Three. Tristan Thompson scored 20, and he and the Cavaliers owned the boards.

"We can't panic. It's only one game". "We want the mentality of Kevin from Minnesota, but his usage rate (doesn't) have to be as high as Minnesota".

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