Three more games like this one, and the Cavs will find themselves in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Cleveland took a strong first step towards defending their home court against the Boston Celtics, and did it on the backs of the guys you'd expect: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love each made a positive impact on this game.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers 113, the Boston Celtics 100. Cavs one, Celtics zero.
Irving was the most consistent star for Cleveland. 30 points on 21 shots, three rebounds, two assists and just one turnover. The first half was ugly at times for the Cavs, but Irving was the stabilizing force offensively. The Celtics were making a lot of jump shots and even led by eight points at one point. In the second quarter, though, Irving and Tristan Thompson made their mark.
Isaiah Thomas was predictably good for the Celtics. He's very good at probing opposing defenses, kicking the ball out, and hit a good percentage of his jump shots. He finished with 22 points on 14 shots, 10 assists, and five turnovers and kept the Celtics competitive for spurts. Evan Turner, on the other hand, struggled. His defense was problematic, though he was forced to guard LeBron James at various points. He notched 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, but it took him 12 shots and 34 minutes to do it.
The Celtics need a creator when Thomas sits, and Turner can't do it.
In the second half, Kevin Love turned things around and LeBron James kept chipping in LeBron James things every once in awhile. James finished with 20 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. He also turned the ball over five times. It wasn't a vintage James performance, but he allows for Irving to get the space he needs, and also set the tone defensively early on when the Celtics offense had Cleveland out of sorts.
Kevin Love was out of sorts offensively in the first half. He was rebounding and making good passes, but had trouble establishing himself in the post against Brandon Bass and wasn't hitting shots. By the time the game ended, though, he had 19 points and 12 rebounds. He was efficient shooting, needing just 14 shots, and he also handed out four assists to one turnover. It's the type of performance the Cavs are looking for.
Overall, the Cavs will need more consistent play from nearly everyone, and the defense has to get better. That being said, the Celtics likely won't hit the midrange and three point jump shots with consistency. 46 rebounds for the Cavs to just 34 for Boston points to solid energy from the Cavs. It just needs to be focused.
We will have more coverage moving forward. 15 more wins gets the Cavaliers their first ever NBA championship.