The Cavaliers found themselves in a familiar place early in this game.
For the second time, they trailed the Celtics early, as Boston used a 15-3 run to stun the Cavs and build a nine point lead. The young Celtics stormed the Cavaliers, almost literally, swarming the ball at seemingly every turn. Early fouls on Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, and a sloppy effort from LeBron James complicated things for the home team. Down three late in the second quarter, it felt almost like a blowout. In spite of everything, the Cavs somehow went into the half leading 51-50.
The Cavs came out swinging in the second half, using a string of highlight reel plays to build several double digit leads. The ball pressure that stymied them in the first half was no longer an issue. The offensive rebounds they weren't in position for started pouring in. In the first half, Boston grabbed nine offensive boards, but in the midst of a horrid shooting third, they gathered only three. The Cavs held Boston to 18 points in the quarter, but waned a little late when Irving sat, carrying a 75-68 advantage into the fourth.
The Celtics, to their credit, do not die. Several times in the quarter they fought back to within two, and with 2:30 left in the game they trailed 95-87. There just wasn't enough on the Boston bench to overcome LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and yes, Tristan Thompson, late. A few huge offensive rebounds for Thompson (zero points, 11 rebounds, five offensive) and the Cavs walked out with a 99-91 victory.
The Cavs were led by 30 points from James, to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. Kyrie Irving scored 26, alongside five rebounds and six assists. Boston was led by 22 points from Isaiah Thomas.
- The Cavs got huge "role games" from their role players. J.R. Smith struggled with his shot, but his defense was stellar and he gathered five steals. Timofey Mozgov had 16 points and five blocks.
- The Cavs had an old weakness pop up, with Kyrie Irving forced to sit with foul trouble. Matthew Dellavedova struggled mightily against the Celtics guards, and the Cavs were outscored by seven in his only nine minutes on the court.
- The Cavs defense was great, but it was aided by the Celtics obsession with Evan Turner and Jarred Sullinger. Sullinger had 14 points but frequent defensive lapses and his inability to secure rebounds burned Boston. Offensively, Turner continues to be a mess.
The Cavs head to Boston for Game Three with a few things to clean up, but in favorable position to finish the series on their terms. In the mean time, stay here for more news and analysis.