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

Thomas: Celtics not 'scared' of Cavs

Thomas: Celtics not 'scared' of Cavs

As Thomas noted after the 117-104 loss, this wasn't exactly a revelation.

The Cavs toyed with the Celtics from the start, building a 26-point lead in the first half and expanding it to 28 in the third quarter before the Celtics cut it down to 17 at the end of the quarter.

The Celtics worked hard all season to get home court advantage in the National Basketball Association playoffs and LeBron James and the Cavaliers stole it back in 24 minutes.

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. Game 2 is on Friday night before the series shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4. Boston must find a way to slow down James while not getting eaten up by a supporting cast, which other than Kevin Love's big game, didn't produce at its usual high rate.

Boston's goal, much like Game 1, will be to limit as much as they can James' ability to take over and dominate the game.

Love, to his credit, accepted his role, knowing he was a key contributor to the Cavs' 25-5 mark over their past 30 playoff games no matter what the stats said. "I knew I wouldn't feel that great after the game, and I don't feel that great right now". He added nine rebounds and seven assists. Good luck with that Boston.

"We came in with a great mindset on the road, a great game plan, and just tried to make other guys make plays", said Cavs forward Kevin Love, "(and) maybe put them in uncomfortable situations". "But we've been talking, and he's been ready, and tonight was a huge performance from him". We kinda know what they wanna get to, they kinda know what we wanna get to. "They're not the Monstars on "Space Jam"," the C's guard said, referencing the team of intergalactic villains in the 1996 Michael Jordan movie.

Much has been made of Love's predicament in Cleveland as the third wheel in the Cavs' supposed Big Three. The Celtics shot 1-of-8 from behind the three-point line and trailed by as many as 13 in the first 12 minutes. It's actually 12 straight playoff wins if you date it back to last season.

However, Thompson vows there has been no carryover effect as the Eastern Conference finals continue. It included getting within 11 points with less than 2 minutes to play.

On a night when the Celtics received less than stellar play from their two main stars - Isaiah Thomas (17 points) and Al Horford (11 points), the roleplayers stepped up to at least make the score look less embarrassing than the actual game itself. He also had a team-high four turnovers - another red flag for Boston's prospects. "They were more physical", Thomas said.

"There's nothing to figure out", Thomas said.

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