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Cavaliers vs Celtics Game 2: Boston Holding Court Against The King

Al Horford
So many Celtics have contributed to the team's surprising playoff success. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • The Celtics are seeking a 2-0 series lead against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals
  • Expect LeBron James to bounce back after his lowest playoff output of the year
  • Can other Cavaliers ruin the Celtics’ game plan of containing LeBron?

After getting completely outclassed by the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers look to salvage a split in Beantown on Tuesday, May 15th.

Contrary to popular belief, the Celtics are the real deal, and not just a group of misfits somehow cobbling together wins without their two best players.

They’re a multifaceted, diverse group on offense, and an ultra-aggressive, long and switchy squad on defense that grinds teams down to a pulp over the course of 48 minutes.

Game 1 provided more of the same, as Marcus Morris shifted into the starting lineup and did his work defensively on LeBron James while generating a better stat line than the King.

Al Horford, who’s been tormented throughout the postseason by James’ teams in playoffs past, kept up his stellar postseason with another great performance, while Jaylen Brown seems all the way healed from that hamstring injury that had limited him earlier.

The Boston lead swelled to as many as 28, and Cleveland got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way. This was the first time in the playoffs that someone other than James was the team’s leading scorer, as Kevin Love lead the way with just 17 points. Of course, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone less shaken by this thorough beating than, well, LeBron James.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Boston Celtics Team Playoff Stats

OFFENSE

Cavaliers
VS
Celtics

108.0 Offensive Rating 107.4
101.8 Points 104.4
19.6 Assists 21.6
45.7 Field-Goal Percentage 45.1
33.7 Three-Point Percentage 36.0
-0.8 Plus/Minus +3.4

DEFENSE

Cavaliers
VS
Celtics

108.9 Defensive Rating 104.3
102.5 Points 101.0
-1.9 Rebounding Differential +0.1
-1.3 Turnover Differential -0.6
48.1 Field-Goal Percentage 45.8
35.9 Three-Point Percentage 33.0
40.2 Points In The Paint 43.7

Head-to-Head Results

Date Location Score Winner
May 13 – Playoff BOS 108-83 BOS
Feb. 11 – Regular Season BOS 121-99 CLE
Jan. 3 – Regular Season BOS 102-88 BOS
Oct. 17 – Regular Season CLE 102-99 CLE

Notable Injuries and Absences

CAVALIERS CELTICS
No injuries Daniel Theis (leg): OUT
Shane Larkin (shoulder): OUT

 Straight Up Advice: Cavaliers (112-102)

In every game of magnitude, you know that LeBron James is going to show up, and this is one of those games. It’s also coming off the heels of his 15-point, seven rebound, nine assist effort, easily the most pedestrian stat line of his playoff run.

The Cavaliers have always been a live by the three-ball, die by the three-ball team. They started out 0-for-14 and finished just 4-for-26, a paltry 15.6% clip. In their eight playoff wins this year, they have shot closer to 38% from deep, and they’ll need to find that range again.

Cleveland’s perimeter players are going to need to work to get some shots and contribute. Starters George Hill, JR Smith and Kyle Korver were a combined 6-for-19 for 14 points.

Cleveland’s perimeter players are going to need to work to get some shots and contribute. Starters George Hill, JR Smith and Kyle Korver were a combined 6-for-19 for 14 points.

As for the Celtics, it’s now the sixth time they’ve held an opponent under 100 points this playoffs. And home court is definitely an advantage, as they’ve yet to lose a game this postseason at TD Garden, while averaging 110.5 points a game, and shooting 47.5% from the field.

Expect more of the same attack Tuesday, with wave after wave of Boston players mining the best shots on offense, and making life miserable for James and company of defense.

But it’s hard to go against the King. He will show up, and this one goes back to Cleveland even at 1-1.

Team Trends

CAVALIERS CELTICS
Cleveland is 24-23 SU on the road Boston is 35-14 SU at home
Cleveland is 7-3 SU in its last ten games Boston is 7-3 SU in its last ten games
Cleveland is 13-9 SU as an underdog Boston is 46-17 SU as a favorite
Cleveland is 11-23-1 ATS after a loss Boston is 38-24-1 ATS after a win
Cleveland is 35-58-1 ATS this season (37.6%) Boston is 60-33-2 ATS this season (64.5%)
Cleveland is 21-26-0 ATS on the road Boston is 30-17-2 ATS at home
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Vancouver born and bred, Eric is a print and broadcast journalism graduate now based in TO. His current project involves getting his wife to join him on the couch this fall to watch football on Sundays from 1pm kickoff till the Sunday night game expires.