In Sunday’s Game 1 in Boston, Cleveland fell 108-83 to drop Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series. In the loss, the Cavs shot just 31-86 from the field overall and missed their 14 three-pointers before Kyle Korver made the team’s first at the 8:46 mark of the third quarter.
LeBron James finished with 15 points on 5-16 shooting to go along with nine assists and seven rebounds. Kevin Love led the Cavs with 17 points. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 23 points.
Boston took control of the game in the first quarter with a 17-0 run that was a part of an overall 25-2 run. Combined, Brown’s 13 first-quarter points and Al Horford’s 11 points were more than the Cavs’ 18 overall first quarter points as a team. By halftime, the Cavs trailed 61-35.
Cleveland would go on to outscore Boston 29-17 in the third quarter, capped off by a 12-3 run at the end of the quarter that cut the 28-point deficit down to 14 points. But Boston responded with a 7-0 run in the first 1:08 of the fourth quarter to push its lead back above 20 points. With 7:51 to go, Jayson Tatum hit a three-pointer to put the Celtics up by 26 just after James missed a three-pointer. Forty-one seconds later, after a Terry Rozier basket put the Celtics up by 28, the Cavs called a timeout and James checked out for good.
The Cavs are coming off a destruction of the Raptors and beat the Celtics 4-1 last year in a series that was not competitive. But only a combined nine players from both teams remain from last year’s matchup. Based on Game 1, it seems that Cleveland is facing a different challenge this year if it wants to make it to a fourth straight NBA Finals.
Up next: Game 2 between the Cavs and Celtics takes place Tuesday in Boston. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m.