The Boston Celtics were blown out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 117-104, for a game-1 defeat in the Eastern Conference Finals, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Boston came into the conference finals as the underdog, even though they have the number one seed in the East. They earned that seeding by barely eclipsing the Cavaliers with the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference in 2017.
Cleveland was coming off two straight series sweeps and had not played in the last eight days. Yet, they showed no signs of rust in the first quarter, as they stormed to a 30-19 lead over the Celtics, at the end of the period.
The Celtics looked fatigued after an emotional series against the Washington Wizards, and it showed in the second quarter. They were careless with passing and slower to the ball than the Cavaliers.
Boston’s scoring staple has been the 3-point shot. Reliance on three-point shooting failed them in the first half as they went just 2 of 16 from beyond the arc. The first half finished with Cleveland holding a commanding 61-39 lead.
Boston came out looking much sharper for the third quarter. However, the Cavaliers were strong enough to hold a 28-point lead until the final minutes of the third. The Celtics went on a 15-4 run in the last five minutes of the quarter and closed to within 17 points. They trailed 92-75 at the end of three.
The Celtics continued to play with better energy in the final quarter. The Cavaliers responded in kind. Boston could not climb the hill to overtake Cleveland, who closed out with the win.
The Celtics were led by Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder, who each scored 21 points. Star guard Isaiah Thomas finished with 17 points and a game-high 10 assists.
Cleveland’s high scorer was All-Star forward LeBron James, with a game-high 38 points, followed by Kevin Love, who scored 32 points.
The Cavaliers now take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. They will lock horns with the Celtics again on Friday, May 19, in Boston.
Written By D.T. Osborn
Edited by Cathy Milne
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of D.T. Osborn