BOSTON — As LeBron James waited to inbound the ball late within the first half of Sunday’s Recreation 1 of the Japanese Convention finals, a single piece of inexperienced confetti danced towards him.
It was not a untimely celebration for a Boston Celtics workforce constructing what could be a 26-point halftime lead — the worst postseason deficit ever endured by a James-led workforce — nor was it a troll of the Philadelphia 76ers and their Recreation Three snafu final spherical.
The confetti, although — merely leftover from a live performance Saturday night time at TD Backyard — was foretelling of the Recreation 1 dismantling the Celtics would placed on the defending Japanese Convention champs.
These fearless younger Celtics swore they would not be overwhelmed by having to play towards James amid his run of East supremacy. True to their phrase, the Celtics blitzed the Cavaliers with a monster first-half run after which cruised to a 108-83 triumph.
It was 21-year-old Jaylen Brown who scored a team-high 23 factors, whereas veteran chief Al Horford added 20. Jayson Tatum overcame a quiet begin to add 16 factors, although it ended his Celtics rookie file of seven straight video games with 20 factors or extra within the postseason.
James struggled all afternoon as Boston despatched a wide range of our bodies his means, together with Marcus Morris, who moved right into a beginning position the day after proudly declaring himself among the best James defenders within the NBA.
James completed with 15 factors on 5-for-16 taking pictures and was Zero-for-5 from Three-point vary. He was minus-26 within the first half — the worst plus/minus of his postseason profession — and minus-32 general.
With injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward watching from the tip of the Boston bench, the Celtics hit the Cavaliers with a 17-Zero first-quarter run then stretched their lead as excessive as 21 within the body. Horford and Brown paired up for 24 of Boston’s 36 factors because the Celtics shot 63.6 p.c in the course of the quarter.
Boston’s run ended up being a 25-2 burst general by which Boston related on 10 of 15 area objectives, all whereas the Cavs made simply 1 of 12 pictures over a 7½-minute span.
The Celtics draped each seat with black “Protect the Parquet” shirts for Recreation 1 and the Celtics improved to Eight-Zero right here this postseason. Recreation 2 will likely be at TD Backyard on Tuesday night time.
Within the buildup to Recreation 1, the Celtics had been peppered with questions on having to go towards James and the workforce that swept a really different-looking Boston squad out of the postseason within the East finals a 12 months in the past.
Celtics gamers repeatedly stated they had been embracing the problem and the notion that they had been once more large underdogs.
Earlier than Sunday’s sport, Celtics coach Brad Stevens stated the problem of making an attempt to get previous James was good for his workforce.
“At the end of the day, we’d rather be playing and him be in our path, right? I mean, we get a chance to compete against the best player of this generation, and that is pretty special,” Stevens stated.
“And our guys look forward to it. But we can’t be focused on LeBron versus the Celtics.”