The Celtics made two moves for high-profile veterans this summer, bringing in Kyrie Irving via trade, and Gordon Hayward through free agency. It seemed as though Irving would be the big story in game one of the season, as the Celtics matched up with his former team. Instead, Hayward suffered an awful, gruesome injury that made the outcome of the game feel mostly irrelevant.
But the game did go on, and the Cavs did show some mettle. After taking a commanding lead in the first half, they gave it up in a terrible third quarter. LeBron James and Kevin Love asserted themselves late, and Kyrie Irving’s supporting cast just wasn’t enough.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers 102, the Boston Celtics 99.
The game ended with a Kyrie Irving heave after Jaylen Brown took an ill-considered three. It was on line, but short. He hugged LeBron James and Channing Frye after the game. The Cavs got just enough out of their supporting cast, but this win was largely about LeBron James wanting it and playing at an extremely high level. 29 points on 19 shots, 16 rebounds, and nine assists. He showed why many still think he’s the greatest player on the planet, and as good as Irving was on the offensive end, James showed how easy he can make it.
The Cavs have a lot to figure out. Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose probably shouldn’t be playing together so much, let alone starting. They attempted a combined 24 shots, which is probably about 12 too many. Jae Crowder was versatile and good and seems as though he will fit in seamlessly with whatever the Cavs need him to do.
It’ll be interesting to see where the Cavs go from here. Tristan Thompson is paid handsomely, but was on the court for just 19 minutes. J.R. Smith played 22 minutes. I can’t imagine either will be thrilled with those numbers, though wins always help.
One thing the Cavs did well tonight was rebound collectively. The Celtics aren’t good at rebounding, not by a long shot, but the Cavs controlled their own end for the most part. Still, if Thompson’s minute are cut that severely, it seems the Cavs will likely have some issues there. Tonight LeBron was engaged and grabbed 16 on his own. He won’t do that every night.
A personal note: the site is in good hands with Chris Manning. I’ll be around the comment section, but I’ve moved to The Athletic. Thanks to everyone who helped make this place home for the last six years.