BOSTON — For the second time within the three postseason sequence the Cleveland Cavaliers have performed this spring, LeBron James and the Cavs discover themselves needing to bounce again from a blowout loss in Sport 1, after the Boston Celtics trounced Cleveland 108-83 on Sunday.
“We didn’t play well,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue stated matter-of-factly. “We understand that. We know we have to be better.”
The Cavs have been outscored 36-18 within the first quarter and trailed by as many as 29 factors. Cleveland’s 26-point halftime deficit was the biggest in James’ 229-game postseason profession. The Celtics outscored the Cavs 60-38 within the paint and had a 48-40 edge in rebounds.
“Bad game,” Kyle Korver stated. “Bad first game. There’s lot of things we can do better in the next one.”
Tristan Thompson was extra direct in his critique.
“They punked us,” he advised ESPN. “Early and often.”
James noticed his six-game playoff win streak in Boston snapped and turned in his worst recreation of the postseason, with 15 factors on 5-for-16 capturing, seven turnovers and a plus-minus of minus-32 offsetting his 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Nonetheless, he confirmed endurance along with his evaluation.
“I have zero level of concern at this stage,” James stated. “I did not go to school, so it isn’t March Insanity. You understand, you get higher all through the sequence. You see methods you will get higher all through the sequence. However I have been down Zero-1, I have been down Zero-2, I have been down earlier than within the postseason. However for me, there’s by no means no stage of concern, irrespective of how dangerous I performed tonight with seven turnovers, how inefficient I used to be capturing the ball.
“I am simply as assured going right into a sequence whether or not it is a Zero-Zero sequence or I am down Zero-1. So we now have one other alternative to be higher as a ball membership coming in Tuesday evening, and we’ll see what occurs.”
Maybe fueling James’ confidence, apart from all his expertise, is the rationalization that it will be tough for the Cavs to play a lot worse.
Cleveland missed its first 14 Three-point makes an attempt and completed the sport Four-for-26 from the surface (15.Four p.c). The Cavs got here into Sunday making a mean of 10.eight Three-pointers per recreation on 35.1 p.c capturing this postseason.
“I imply, Three-point shot is part of our DNA,” James said. “It is what makes us the most effective crew that we might be. I believe even early on with the pictures that we had, we had some wide-open seems that simply did not go.”
Certainly, the Cavaliers shot 1-for-12 on uncontested Three-pointers in Sport 1 (eight p.c) after capturing 45 p.c on open Three-pointers this postseason coming into the Japanese Convention finals, in accordance with information compiled by ESPN Stats & Info.
“We’ll take those self same seems going into Sport 2 if the chance presents itself,” James said. “The three-point shot has been a giant half since we just about assembled this crew 4 years in the past, and I believe it will be a giant a part of it all through the sequence, so long as we proceed to get the ball shifting and guys really feel in good rhythm.”
Nonetheless, not all of the Cavs agreed with James’ continued belief within the lengthy ball.
“We’ve got to place the ball on the ground or one thing,” JR Smith, who was Zero-for-Three from deep, advised ESPN. “We’re dwelling and dying with the three.”
Thompson additionally introduced up the losses of gamers akin to Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson (to not point out Kyrie Irving) since Cleveland’s final postseason run a 12 months in the past as proof that the Cavs may not have the surface firepower they used to.
Kevin Love (17 factors, eight rebounds, Three assists) led the Cavs in scoring, but the rhythm Cleveland had proven with him and James on the court docket collectively within the playoffs went lacking Sunday. The Cavs had an offensive effectivity of 86.eight factors per 100 possessions with James and Love on the ground, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Info, a stark distinction to the offensive effectivity of 113.1 factors per 100 possessions that the duo generated the remainder of the playoffs.
“We all know we simply have to return within the subsequent recreation and play higher,” Love said. “On each ends of the ground, we did not play so nice. … They’re an excellent crew. They’ve performed extraordinarily properly all through these playoffs, numerous guys have stepped up for them and performed extraordinarily environment friendly basketball. We’re not urgent the panic button, we will return to the drafting board and discover what we will get higher on the defensive finish and let the offense maintain itself.”
Lue additionally known as out the Cavs’ backcourt, saying, “Our guards let down on protection, and we won’t try this.” The Celtics ended up capturing 51.2 p.c from the ground as a crew.
“On the defensive finish, we weren’t very sharp,” Korver said. “We weren’t as aggressive as we should always’ve been. A variety of it was as a result of we have been annoyed on the offensive finish.”
Within the first spherical, the Cavs dropped Sport 1 98-80 to Indiana and rallied to win the sequence in seven video games.
“I assumed it was just like Sport 1 in opposition to the Pacers,” Korver said. “We got here out and misplaced by 18 at dwelling. It was a troublesome loss. However this crew’s been round this earlier than. We’ll watch the movie and attempt to get higher.”
With the blowout within the books, the Cavs star appeared forward to Cleveland’s subsequent shot to even issues up.
“Sport 1 has at all times been a feel-out recreation for me, in case you’ve ever adopted my historical past,” he said. “So I’ve acquired sense of the way in which they performed me and the way I am going to play going into Sport 2.”