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Ranking the 5 best Eastern Conference teams LeBron James has destroyed

16 Mai 2018

When Gordon Hayward went down in the first game of the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was a major blow for a Boston Celtics team that was expected to be in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and Al Horford added 20 to power the Boston Celtics over Cleveland 108-83 Sunday, May 13, and humble LeBron James and his Cavaliers teammates in their National Basketball Association playoff series opener.

The Cavaliers need to shoot much better in game 2, as they were just 4-26 (15.4%) from the three point line in game 1.

There was no coming back for the Cavaliers, with the Celtics - powered by a team-high 23 points to Jaylen Brown, and contributions from Terry Rozier (18), Al Horford (15 points, ten rebounds) and Jayson Tatum (11) - cruising to victory as the visitors imploded.

The Celtics seized the lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference finals, with the victor to face either season wins leader Houston or defending champion Golden State in the NBA Finals. In contrast, the Celtics managed 33 points from 3-pointers, going a solid 11-for-30 from beyond the arc.

Al Horford has tasted playoff and postseason success before. But in the minds of Boston's players and coaches, the series is still tied, 0-0. But it's extremely likely the Cavaliers will be better, and that should make for a much more exciting game. Not only did he manage to curb the influence of LeBron, but he was actually the better player out of the two.

By that time, Boston led 61-35 - the biggest halftime playoff deficit in James' career.

Kevin Love won't be such a pushover and he'll hit a few 3-pointers, pull in about 12 rebounds. The Cavs won Game 2 106-91, behind 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists on 13-of-29 shooting from James. Morris managed 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting himself in what was a typically even offensive performance from the Celtics.

Listen to James after Game One: "I have zero level of concern at this stage". We had a really tough loss, and he came out and played very well. "That's the great challenge of having to play against a team like this and a player like him". "He's going to approach this game as one that he's going to have to lead and bounce back".

"Yeah, he's definitely shown that he's not the same player game-to-game in terms of (how) he always steps it up", Aron Baynes, a member of the Spurs team that beat James' Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, said after yesterday's practice.

But a physical outing from the Celtics was nothing the Cavaliers did not expect heading into Game 1.

LeBron was pretty bad in Game 1 and was sulking on the bench for most of the fourth quarter. "I think that Coach [Brad Stevens] kinda has to determine that", said Horford. They haven't been favored in any playoff series they've been in this year. The payoff didn't end there though, because even when Boston missed shots, frequently the Cavs attack wasn't able to get going immediately, because they found themselves needing to regroup instead of getting out on the fast break due to the nature of the Boston offense. "Obviously, when I check in the game, I try to bring that toughness and energy, but our starters have got to be ready to throw the first punch. As role players, we've got to play our role".

Ranking the 5 best Eastern Conference teams LeBron James has destroyed